Apple delays controversial child safety features following feedback

“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”

What you need to know

  • Apple announced controversial new child safety measures earlier this year.
  • Following feedback, the company has decided to delay the move.
  • It says it will collect feedback and improve the measures over the coming months.

Apple has today announced that it is delaying its controversial Child Safety measures following feedback from various groups.

In a statement the company said:

“Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”

Apple announced measures recently that it hoped would make its platforms safer for children, however plans to scan iCloud Photos for child sexual abuse material and a machine learning feature that could detect explicit images in messages sent to children have been met with strong resistance by some.

The company was forced to publish a series of clarifications, updates, FAQs, and more, and software chief Craig Federighi even appeared in an interview, admitting the company wished its message had been clearer.

Apple’s plans were criticized by privacy advocates including Edward Snowden, and an open letter calling on Apple to halt the plans garnered thousands of signatures. The company had previously indicated that it had factored into its timeline of features a period to help answer questions and clarify the measures, and that it was not planning to delay the feature. Today’s statement confirms the u-turn in policy.

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