EFF urges Apple to drop CSAM tool plans completely

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has responded favorably to Apple's announcement it would delay implementing its CSAM tools, but still wants Apple to go further and give up on the plans entirely.

On September 3, Apple announced it was going to "take additional time" to consult about its plans to launch child protection features, with a view to improving the tools and implementing them within a few months. In response, the EFF believes Apple could do more on the matter.

In its Friday response, the digital rights group said it was "pleased Apple is now listening to the concerns" of its users "about the dangers posed by its phone scanning tools." However, Apple "must go further than just listening, and drop its plans to put a backdoor into its encryption entirely."

The statement by the group recapped the criticism Apple had received from over 90 organizations around the world, asking the iPhone maker not to implement the features. The claims are that they could "lead to the censoring of protected speech, threaten the privacy and security of people around the world, and have disastrous consequences for many children."

A petition hosted by the EFF against Apple's initiative reached 25,000 signatures on September 1, and was nearing 27,000 at the time of publication. According to the EFF, the figure grows to "well over 50,000 signatures" when taking into account similar petitions from groups including Fight for the Future and OpenMedia.

"The enormous coalition that has spoken out will continue to demand that user phones - both their messages and their photos - be protected, and that the company maintain its promise to provide real privacy to its users," the EFF blog post ends.

It remains to be seen what changes Apple will make to its CSAM features, but given it is opening itself up to consultation, it won't be short of suggestions and instruction from observers and critics.