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WhatsApp CEO Says Apple’s Child Safety Update Is ‘Surveillance System’

A day after Apple confirmed plans for new software to detect child abuse images in users’ photos in iCloud, the head of Facebook’s WhatsApp said he was “worried” about the plans.

IN Topic On Twitter, Will Cathcart called it “an Apple-built and managed surveillance system that can very easily be used to scan private content for what they or the government decide to control.” He also raised questions about how such a system could be used in China or other countries, or abused by spy companies.

An Apple spokesman disputed the software’s characterization by Cutcart, noting that users can turn off iCloud photos. Apple also said the system only learns from the database. “Famous” images provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and other organizations, and that it is impossible to make it work depending on the region as it is built into iOS.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook disagreed with Apple’s plans. Apple has spent years criticizing Facebook for its reputation for privacy, even though the social network used end-to-end encryption. Most recently, the companies fell out over privacy updates that hampered Facebook’s ability to track its users, which the company says will hurt its ad revenue.

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