Cyber ​​security experts sounded the alarm on Apple and EU phone scanning programs


On Thursday, a dozen top cybersecurity experts criticized Apple and the EU’s plans to monitor people’s phones for illegal products, promoting government surveillance as “ineffective and dangerous tactics”.

In a 46-page study, researchers said Apple’s proposal was aimed at detecting images of child sexual abuse on iPhones, as well as the idea sent by EU members in Europe to detect similar abuse and terrorism images on encrypted devices, using “dangerous technology”.

“Resisting attempts to spy on and affect law-abiding citizens should be a national security priority,” the researchers wrote.

The technology, called client-side scanning, allows Apple- or, in Europe, potential law enforcement officers to detect images of child sexual abuse on someone’s phone by scanning images uploaded to Apple’s iCloud storage service.

When Apple announced the planned tool in August, it said it was looking for possible matches to compare with the database of child sexual abuse information known as the film’s fingerprint.

But the plan caused a stir among privacy advocates and raised fears that the technology could destroy digital privacy and was eventually used by dictatorial governments to find political dissidents and other adversaries.

Apple said it would reject such requests from foreign governments, but the protest led to the suspension of the scanning tool in September. The company declined to comment on the report, which was released on Thursday.

Cyber ​​security researchers say they began their research long before Apple’s announcement. Documents released by the European Union and a meeting with EU officials last year convinced the federation’s executive committee that it wanted a similar program to scan not only images of child sexual abuse, but also signs of organized crime and signs of terrorist relationships. .

Researchers hope that the plan to allow photo scanning in the European Union may come soon this year.

Rose Anderson, a professor of defense engineering, said they were now releasing their findings to report the dangers of the EU’s plan because “the expansion of state surveillance powers is actually crossing a red line.” Member of Cambridge University and Committee.

Aside from surveillance concerns, the researchers say their findings indicate that the technology is not effective in identifying images of child sexual abuse. Within days of Apple’s announcement, they said, people were pointing out ways to avoid detection by slightly editing the images.

The technology “allows to scan a personal private device without any possible reason for any illegal activity,” said Susan Landau, another cybersecurity and policy professor at Dufts University. “It’s very dangerous. It’s dangerous for business, national security, public security and privacy.

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