Apple is now apparently introducing a controversial child protection function for iMessage in Germany. The mirror reports. The so-called “Communication Safety” can detect and hide incoming and sent nude photos in the message app on iPhone, iPad and Mac, if parents wish. Children are then explicitly warned. The nude image scanner had previously only been activated in a few markets, including the United States.
It’s in Beta 4
In the fourth beta version of iOS 16 for developers, which was released on Wednesday evening, “Communication Safety” should now also be active for two new markets, according to the report. In addition to Germany, this is France. The feature was last announced for Great Britain and Canada; the first country – already in iOS 15 – was the United States of America. As has also become known, Apple allows itself the option of recording a “nude picture quota” within communication security in order to be able to check the functionality of the feature.
Communication security can check incoming and outgoing iMessages for children and young people for explicit content. If these are discovered, they are initially only shown hidden and there is a warning message to the offspring. Apple’s original feature description said parents would be contacted if the warning was ignored. After criticism from LGBTQ+ associations, among others, Apple removed the warning to parents. These must always activate “Communication Safety” for their offspring beforehand, which in turn runs through family release, of which the child must be a part.
Every genital recognized
How exactly the nude image filter works is unclear. Apple relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Apple initially only wrote that it would block “explicitly sexual” recordings, but now they apparently want to block any form of nudity. When asked by Spiegel, Apple said that “the mere visibility of genitals can be enough to trigger the alerts”. Apparently, the company is gradually developing the controversial function.
Whether the nude image filter in Germany will really be part of the final version of iOS 16 depends on the further development of the beta version. Apple reserves the right to change features within the pre-release, sometimes even on a large scale. The new operating system is scheduled to appear in September. In addition to the nude image scanner, there’s a much more controversial new feature: Apple originally intended to also scan adult devices to report child pornography. This had alarmed data protection and security experts, because this would have affected the actually protected communication. So far it is still unclear how this feature will continue.
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