Top Security Experts Warn: Client-side Scanning “Tears at the Heart of Privacy of Individual Citizens”

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A couple of months ago, this blog wrote about Apple’s Expanded Protections for Children, which turned out to mean client-side scanning (CSS). That is, code on your smartphone would be constantly scanning images there for illegal material – specifically, for Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). The post pointed out a number of serious flaws in Apple’s approach, which are obvious to even non-experts. Still, it’s always good to have those impressions confirmed by people whose job is to study this area, and that’s exactly what a new preprint on arXiv does. Entitled “Bugs in our Pockets: The Risks of Client-Side Scanning“, it comes from 13 of the world’s top security gurus, including Ross Anderson, Whitfield Diffie, Ronald L. Rivest and Bruce Schneier. The Executive Summary is damning:

we argue that CSS neither guarantees efficacious crime prevention nor prevents surveillance. Indeed, the effect is the opposite. CSS by its nature creates serious security and privacy risks for all society while the assistance it can provide for

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