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Monday, September 20, 2021

Opinion

Apple’s new privacy update is concerning


privacy update

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Apple’s new privacy update for iOS 15 is very worrying and a stain to the company’s reputation as protectors of user privacy.

Many people are awaiting the new Apple iPhone that will have a one terabyte option for internal storage on the pro models. However, Apple’s new iOS 15 system update is controversial for their change in privacy. 

The new system update is set to be released this fall which will involve comparing hashes to combat child exploitation. Apple will compare numerical data to a list of data provided by child safety organizations. Apple has been known for their privacy in the past, so this system update has caused some people to speak out against it, especially privacy advocates. 

The reason privacy advocates are concerned is because of how this system can be used in the future. The exploitation of children is terrible and any method that is used to help stop it is good. However, this system can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. 

People tend to take a lot of photos with their phone of what they are eating or their daily errands. Apple will be taking away the consumer’s choice to have what they want on their phone. Now Apple users will have to choose between allowing Apple to sift through their pictures and not purchasing an Apple product. 

Many Apple users also own multiple products by Apple like iPads and MacBooks, so they will have to rethink their entire technological setup if they don’t want their privacy invaded. 

Previously Apple stored consumer’s photos for access, but now they will be storing data from them. 

Apple claims that this new system will provide security for their users and that the system cannot be adapted for another use in the future, but have no way of guaranteeing it. 

While other photo gathering companies such as Google use technology to flag illegal or harmful images, Apple is the first one to collect the data from images before they are uploaded to their iCloud software.

It is not concerning how this system will be helping stop child exploitation. Rather it is concerning how in the future a government or a third party organization can use this system to flag certain religious, political, or other beliefs it deems as “dangerous.” 

It is concerning how a big technological company is obstructing people’s privacy. Apple could be like other companies and flag images without collecting data. 

It is very disappointing how Apple is taking a step back from providing security for their consumers. People should not have to choose between buying an Apple product and protecting their privacy. 

This is the kind of technology that cannot be taken back after it is released. In 2018, Cambridge Analytica stole people’s information to target them with certain political ads to sway how they vote. This shows that it is possible for a third party company to obtain information without user’s consent or knowledge. 

Apple should not go forward with this update as it will put the privacy of its customers at risk. 

Megan Biasiolli is a Journalism senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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