Heat Initiative, a child safety advocacy group, is launching a multi-million dollar campaign against Apple to pressure the company into reinstating iCloud CSAM detection.
Heat Initiative said it would launch the campaign against Apple after pressing the tech giant on why it had abandoned plans for on-device and iCloud Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) detection tools. The launch comes after Apple giving its most detailed response yet as to why it backed off its plans, citing that it would uphold user privacy.
In response to Apple, Heat Initiative has officially launched its campaign website. The advocacy group issues a statement on the front page that reads, "Child sexual abuse is stored on iCloud. Apple allows it."
"Apple's landmark announcement to detect child sexual abuse images and videos in 2021 was silently rolled back, impacting the lives of children worldwide," the statement continues. "With every day that passes, there are kids suffering because of this inaction, which is why we're calling on Apple to deliver on their commitment."
The website contains alleged case studies that detail multiple cases where iCloud had been used to store sexual abuse materials, including photos, videos, and explicit messages.
It calls on Apple to "detect, report, and remove sexual abuse images and videos from iCloud," as well as "create a robust reporting mechanism for users to report child sexual abuse images and videos to Apple."
The company provides a copy of a letter it sent directly to Tim Cook, saying that it was "shocked and discouraged by your decision to reverse course and not institute" CSAM detection measures.
It also includes a button that allows visitors to send a prewritten email demanding action from Apple to the entire Apple executive team.
Child Sexual Abuse Material is an ongoing severe concern Apple attempted to address with on-device and iCloud detection tools. These controversial tools were ultimately abandoned in December 2022, leaving more controversy in its wake.
The Heat Initiative is not alone in its quest. As spotted by 9to5mac, the Christian Brothers Investment Services, and Degroof Petercam are respectively filing and backing a shareholder resolution about the topic.