Apple’s Interception and Scrutiny of iCloud Data On Child Abuse

Apple’s Interception and Scrutiny of iCloud Data on Child Abuse

Apple has always been known for its secretive policies to protect its users, data and operating system. It has different ways to uncover its attackers and peak in its users’ emails. A recent search warrant from Forbes has brought light onto the process of how iPhone intercepts and verifies messages when illegal data is found within. The warrant, filed in Seattle, Washington, in the second week of February 2020, shows that despite reports of Apple being stubborn in serious law enforcement cases, it’s being cooperative in investigations.

How Does Apple Identify Illegal Data on Its Devices?

Just like every other Tech Organizations, be it Facebook or Google, Apple also uses ‘Hashes’ to detect child abuse imagery. Hashes are a kind of signatures attached to previously identified child abuse images or videos. When the organization systems detect them passing through any server, a flag gets attached. The email or file hauling such data is quarantined for further verification. Quarantined files are then verified by Staff.

Once the Threshold has been met, the relevant authority is consulted for further action, which is usually the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC call law enforcement after being tipped about illegal content, often launching a criminal investigation.

Technology has played a fatal role in ease of access and accelerating pedophilia and child abuse over the past decade. Last year, The New York Times reported that major tech companies reported over 45 million online photos and videos of children being sexually abused which is more than double the number from Last year.

Irrespective of all the past security issues with apple, where no information from iCloud was provided for investigation, the Tech colossal has been very cooperative recently. Apple’s staff has been found very helpful in such cases. “When we intercept the email with suspected images, they do not go to the intended recipient. This individual . . . sent eight emails that we intercepted. [Seven] of those emails contained 12 images. All seven emails and images were the same, as was the recipient email address. The other email contained 4 images which were different than the 12 previously mentioned. The intended recipient was the same,” the Apple workers’ comments read. Staff has provided a lot of personal information of the guilty to the government to help in reducing child abuse.

The Apple employee then examined each of these images of suspected child pornography, according to the special agent at the Homeland Security Investigations unit.

This increases the trust in Apple as apart from its high-security walls guarding its data, help is still being provided to the government to fight against any cybercrime.


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