Tell Apple: No Spyware on my Phone

Apple Leadership

Apple Is Creating A Backdoor For Massive Abuse

Unless we stop them, virtually every single Apple device is about to start scanning your private files for images that might contain nudity and sending a selection to law enforcement. Apple claims that it will help to prevent child exploitation, but what it actually does is create a backdoor that endangers children themselves, threatens human rights around the world, and destroys privacy and security on Apple devices.

Apple's update works by constantly lurking photos saved or shared on every iPhone, iPad, or Mac in the world. Because these checks are performed on each person’s own device, they could bypass any end-to-end encryption, the gold standard for safeguarding people’s privacy. This sort of monitoring is a shocking departure from Apple’s former commitment to privacy and security for its users.

In addition to surveilling everyone’s device, Apple also proposes to “protect” children by notifying their parents if iMessage is used to send or receive photos that may contain nudity. This practice is particularly concerning for LGBTQ+ children in abusive households, whose parents may harm them if their phone outs sensitive information such as the gender or sexual orientation of the child or the child’s friends.

Apple's update forces every one of its devices to continuously scan all photos and messages that pass through it in order to report any objectionable content to law enforcement. This sets a precedent where our personal devices become a radical new tool for invasive surveillance with little oversight to prevent abuse and expansion. Apple is the only major tech company to take this incredibly dangerous step—but once they do, others may be forced to follow.

Child abuse is horrible, but this will not protect them. If Apple does this, they are ending digital privacy as we know it—opening a door for authoritarian governments, hackers, and abusers to gain easy access to the communications of their victims.

To: Apple Leadership
From: [Your Name]

I urge Apple to abandon its proposed ‘child protection’ update to iOS 15 immediately, and recommit to providing secure communications with end to end encryption and no backdoors for all of its devices.

It is abusive and wrong to expect customers to allow continuous monitoring of all the images on their devices and to allow additional review by law enforcement. Apple is endangering children in abusive households by threatening to reveal sensitive information about a child or their friends to abusers, while simultaneously opening up a door for hackers and authoritarian governments to abuse us all.

Taking away the privacy and security of billions is not the way to combat child exploitation. Apple must immediately reverse course by dropping its plans and recommitting to never opening any sort of backdoor to monitor our communications.