The Electronic Frontier Foundation has organized a petition to convince Apple to back off from putting neuralMatch software on their phones. The purpose of this technology is to scan all images on the phone for illegal content. The foundation believes that the introduction of neuralMatch will violate user privacy, break the promise of end-to-end encryption, and encourage governments around the world to seek greater surveillance and censorship.
Petition against invasion of privacy
On the petition page, the Electronic Frontier Foundation states:
– Apple has abandoned its once-famous commitment to security and privacy. The next version of iOS will contain software that scans users’ photos and messages. Under pressure from U.S. law enforcement, Apple has put a backdoor into their encryption system.
Further, the Foundation noted that: – Child abuse is a scourge, but it can be investigated and prosecuted without breaking encryption, or scanning our private personal photos. Crimes against children cannot be an excuse for Apple to install surveillance software that will scan millions of iPhones.
The digital rights advocacy group urges everyone to sign its petition:
– Sign our petition and tell Apple to stop its plan to scan our phones. Users need to speak up say this violation of our privacy is wrong.
Fear of software capabilities
One of the main arguments against NeuralMatch software that its opponents give is the fear that once the software is on phones, governments could pressure Apple to expand the scanning to include additional content.
It is feared by opponents that countries around the world will want to scan and report compliance with their own database of censored material, which could have disastrous consequences, especially for regimes that already track activists and censor content that is inconvenient to them.
Electronic Frontier are not alone
The US-based Woodhull Freedom Foundation, which works to protect the fundamental human right to sexual freedom by fighting censorship, eliminating discrimination based on gender, sexual identity or family form, has endorsed the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s campaign. On its Twitter, Woodhull Freedom encourages its supporters to sign the petition:
– Proud to be a supporter of this effort to stop Apple from continuing down this path to a lack of privacy that will haunt us for years to come! Won’t you add your signature?
If you would like to learn more or sign the petition, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation website here.