In an effort to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.
The option to blur nude photos is optional, reports The edge, and does not prevent users from choosing to view the photos in question even after their implementation.
This iteration of the feature is separate from the original in that it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts have pointed out that exposing naked content on a child’s device in some homes could lead to abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the release of “queer or transgender children to their parents.” . “
With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos through the Messages app could do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send an adult report from trust if they see fit to do so.
Photo blurring is just one of many aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety Suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sexual abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.
Another feature Apple has tested – but not released – is its Child Sexual Abuse Image Detection (CSAM detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows pornography or child abuse to moderators. Apple for a closer look. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed reviews, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.
While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that the fight against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting personal photos of individuals through an algorithm opens the door. government interference and increased scrutiny. Changing the baseline of the algorithm to find things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups argue, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.
No release date is currently set for any of these aforementioned features, although iPhone users can reasonably expect them to disappear at some point during the development of iOS 15.