Apple to expand child safety feature to third-party apps

Apple to expand child safety feature to third party apps
Apple to expand child safety feature to third party apps | image: MacRumors

Apple held a question-answer session regarding its child safety feature. Apple said, in the future, Apple will expand its child safety feature to other third-party apps.

Apple said that they will include these new child safety features into future versions of iPadOS 15, iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and Watch OS 8. MacRumors reported that these Apple’s child safety features are:

  1. A communication safety which will warn children and parents when receiving or sending sexually exploits media. It will be an optional feature and will be included in the Messages app on iPad, iPhone, and macs. Apple said that if this feature is turned on, then it will use machine learning to analyze if the photo is sexually exploited or not. If yes, then it will warn children and the photo will be blurred automatically.
  2. Apple will scan images stored in iCloud and mark them sexually exploited if they are. Apple will report those images to the National Center of Missing and Exploit children and law enforcement. In the question-answer session on 9/8/2021, Apple confirmed that this CASM scanning feature will only scan photos stored in iCloud, not videos.
  3. Apple will provide guidance and additional resources through Siri and Spotlight search to help parents and children stay safe online. Users can ask Siri that how to report CASM images and Siri will guide them.

In the session, Apple didn’t talk about examples about how they will implement child safety features into third-party apps, but there are some possibilities. One possibility is that Apple will use the Communication safety feature in other apps, like Instagram, WhatsApp, or Snapchat. So that exploited media shared by apps other than Apple Messages can be blurred and users can be warned.

Apple could also implement its CASM system to third-party apps which don’t use iCloud to store images.

Apple didn’t announce any timeframe about when will they implement child safety features in third-party apps. Apple said that they still have to complete testing of child features and ensure that the use of this feature in third-party apps will not bring any privacy harm.

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