NEW DELHI: Apple has announced a range of new features across its platforms aimed at protecting children online. Called Expanded Protections for Children, these include safety tools to protect children from sensitive images in iMessage and iCloud Photo. “At Apple, our goal is to create technology that empowers people and enriches their lives — while helping them stay safe,” the company said in a press release about these features that will be rolled out in the US in the coming weeks. The company is also said to be working on new safety tools in Siri and Search.
Incidentally, Apple is also facing criticism from certain quarters about these new features. The critics include the likes Edward Snowden and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Johns Hopkins cryptography researcher Matthew Green has termed this a “bad idea”. However, Apple has defended the move. 9to5Mac obtained an internal memo that was reportedly distributed to the teams that worked on this project. The memo has been written by Sebastien Marineau-Mes, a software vice president at Apple. In the memo, Apple acknowledges the “misunderstandings” about these features, but adds that they are part of an “important mission” to keep children safe. Here’s the memo as it appeared on 9to5Mac
Today marks the official public unveiling of Expanded Protections for Children, and I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for all of your hard work over the last few years. We would not have reached this milestone without your tireless dedication and resiliency.
Keeping children safe is such an important mission. In true Apple fashion, pursuing this goal has required deep cross-functional commitment, spanning Engineering, GA, HI, Legal, Product Marketing and PR. What we announced today is the product of this incredible collaboration, one that delivers tools to protect children, but also maintain Apple’s deep commitment to user privacy.
We’ve seen many positive responses today. We know some people have misunderstandings, and more than a few are worried about the implications, but we will continue to explain and detail the features so people understand what we’ve built. And while a lot of hard work lays ahead to deliver the features in the next few months, I wanted to share this note that we received today from NCMEC. I found it incredibly motivating, and hope that you will as well.
I am proud to work at Apple with such an amazing team. Thank you!