German Press Association opposes Apple's iCloud photo scanning tool

The German Press Association is worried about Apple's iCloud photo scanning tool.

According to Apple Insider, the German Press Association has asked the European Commission to intervene in Apple's CSAM tools. They believe the system will be used to collect contact information and carry out other invasions of privacy.

Apple's CSAM tool, designed to combat the illegal distribution of images of children. It has generated much controversy throughout the past month. Critics argue that SCAM would invade people's privacy. Journalists in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are the latest to speak out on the matter.

The German Journalists Association (DJV) believes that Apple "intentions to monitor mobile phones locally in the future". In a press release, the association said the tool was a "violation of press freedom". They called on the EU commission and the federal interior ministers of Austria and Germany to act.

German Press Association opposes Apple's iCloud photo scanning tool
German Press Association opposes Apple's iCloud photo scanning tool

According to AGRA editors' association spokesman Hubert Krech, Apple introduced "a tool because it wants to access users' data on their devices, such as contracts and confidential documents". And this violates the rules of the GDPR.

Frank Uberall, president of DJV, added: "Can images or videos of anti-regime protesters or user data be algorithmically vetted?"

ORF editorial board spokesman Dieter Bornemann offered a bleak outlook that the government could use the tool to check information related to the LGBT community. There is also fear that authoritarian states could use this tool to spy on their citizens.

The group also refuted claims that it would only apply in the United States because European reporters also work in the country. What's more, features that are rolled out in the US often appear in other markets later as well.

Excessive concern?

Worries about smartphones being tracked by governments and security agencies may be the cause of the German Association of Journalists. However, it seems that DJV is overstating the concerns surrounding Apple's CSAM tool.

Apple's CSAM tool
Apple's CSAM tool

After being strongly opposed by the public, Apple tried to reassure users. However, the effect achieved does not seem to be very significant.

Apple's chief privacy officer, Erik Neuenschwander, explains that the CSAM system has many features to prevent governments from exploiting it. Apple has also published supporting documents that explain in more detail the system, its functions, and how it is kept safe from tampering.

Apple's chief software engineering officer Crag Federighi on Friday said the company was wrong to release three child protection features at once. This leads to confusion and misunderstanding for the CSAM system.

"I think introducing these two features at once has led to confusion. Rest assured, Apple doesn't scan your phone for images," Federighi said.

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