Apple has confirmed that they scan the iCloud e-mails for child abuse. The backups for photos and videos are getting scanned on iPhones and iCloud to detect potential child abusive content. It has also been reported that this Cupertino giant has been doing this operation since 2019.
Apple Scanning iCloud E-Mails For Child Abuse
Initially, the anti-fraud head of Epic; Eric Friedman has allegedly reported that the Apple iOS is the greatest platform for spreading or distributing child porn and abuse. Since then Apple had started an investigation regarding this matter; which eventually started scanning the iCloud e-mails and backups for pictures and videos. Apple has confirmed this in a statement to 9to5Mac.
Apple has stated that this operation is on since 2019 which includes scanning the mails and the attached files for abusive contents. The company also confined that they scan both incoming and outgoing e-mails that are being sent through iCloud. Performing this procedure is not so difficult, because the iCloud e-mails are not encrypted.
Back in early 2020, a report was published stating how the CSAM or Child Sexual Abusive Material scanning process of Apple works through e-mails. As per the report; the meta-data of the images that have been already marked as CSAM content is scanned by Apple. If such an image gets detected in a mail, that mail gets flagged immediately until a human operator checks it.
If anything relevant to the CSAM content gets detected; all the possible information of the e-mail id user (name, phone number, address) are delivered to Homeland Security. This measure to scan iCloud e-mails for child abuse taken by Apple to prevent spreading child porn has been appreciated by many cyber-security experts.
This scanning process is not against the company policy; rather it’s a good balance between abusive content discovery and user privacy. Though it is not known if Apple would use the same technique to scan the backups for photos and videos.