Apple has announced three new measures to protect minors from possible sexual abuse that will come into effect in the United States. These will ship with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS 12 Monterey, so they’ll be rolling out starting this fall and only in the US. All aim to protect children while preserving user privacy, although they are not without controversy.

Three Steps to Protecting Yourself from Child Abuse

Apple has announced three measures that will come into effect this fall to protect against child sexual abuse, the operation of which is explained here. First, there is the security of iMessage communications. So when a child receives sexually explicit photos, the photo will be blurry.

A notice will be posted along with some useful resources, assuring the child that nothing is happening if they don’t want to see this photo. To protect the environment, you will be notified that your parents will be notified if they end up seeing the photo. The opinions will be similar if it is the child himself who will send explicit photos.

In Messages, detection uses an on-device system and machine learning without Apple having access to messages

Another new feature is the detection of child pornography. Photos stored in iCloud that are of this type will be detected and reported to an entity in charge of managing child abuse in the United States. The latter, in turn, will contact the security forces.

Finally, Siri and Search will provide us with additional information for parents and children to stay safe in online environments, helping in difficult situations. Siri will tell us where to report child abuse or exploitation and also notify the user when they search for child abuse.

The detailed operation of these measures is quite technical, although it has not been without controversy among those who see it as an invasion of privacy.