Joanna Stern Interviews Craig Federighi Regarding New iCloud Security Features

At least two exclusive tidbits in this interview (News+ link):

The changes represent a new potential setback for law-enforcement officials. Last year, Apple proposed software for the iPhone that would identify child sexual-abuse material on the iPhone. Apple now says it has stopped development of the system, following criticism from privacy and security researchers who worried that the software could be misused by governments or hackers to gain access to sensitive information on the phone.

Mr. Federighi said Apple’s focus related to protecting children has been on areas like communication and giving parents tools to protect children in iMessage. “Child sexual abuse can be headed off before it occurs,” he said. “That’s where we’re putting our energy going forward.”

Through its parental-controls software, Apple can notify parents who opt in if nude photos are sent or received on a child’s device.

So the controversial CSAM fingerprint-hashing project for iCloud Photos has been shelved. A lot of us saw that project as a precursor to offering end-to-end encryption for iCloud Photos. It is very good news that Apple forged ahead with E2E encyption for Photos without it.

The new encryption system, which will be tested by early users starting Wednesday, will roll out as an option in the U.S. by year’s end, and then worldwide including China in 2023, Mr. Federighi said.

In the video — which is also available on YouTube — Federighi is slightly circumspect about China, saying only that Apple expects it to roll out to all customers around the world next year, but quips that he hasn’t personally heard from the Chinese government about it.

Wednesday, 7 December 2022