Lawmakers urge FTC to probe Google for pushing apps that allegedly violate.

The Observatory Forums Landscape observatory forum Lawmakers urge FTC to probe Google for pushing apps that allegedly violate.

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    “If you look at any other cloud service, they currently are scanning photos by looking at every single photo in the cloud and analyzing it; we wanted to be able to spot such photos in the cloud without looking at people’s photos,” said Apple’s head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, in an Aug. 13 interview with The Wall Street Journal. “This isn’t doing some analysis for, ‘Did you have a picture of your child in the bathtub?’ Or, for that matter, ‘Did you have a picture of some pornography of any other sort?’ This is literally only matching on the exact fingerprints of specific known child pornographic images.”

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    Mr Whittingdale listed his daughter’s job on the parliamentary register of members’ interests, describing her as a ‘researcher’.
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    Apple says those images shouldn’t trip up its system. Because Apple’s program converts our photos to these hash codes, and then checks them against a known database of child exploitation videos and photos, the company isn’t actually scanning our stuff. The company said the likelihood of a false positive is less than one in 1 trillion per year.

    YouTube Kids, a version of the video service specifically meant for children, faced controversy in 2017 when the service’s filters failed to recognize some videos that are aimed at children but feature disturbing imagery, like Mickey Mouse lying in a pool of blood, or PAW Patrol characters bursting into flames after a car crash. 

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    “The FTC must use its full authority to protect the interests of children, many of whom are increasingly online during the coronavirus pandemic,” the letter says. “Therefore, we urge you to investigate whether the Google Play Store has engaged in unfair and deceptive practices that mislead parents and harm kids.”

    The letter follows another push by Castor for child safety from Silicon Valley companies. In September, she introduced the Kids Internet Design and Safety, or KIDS, Act, in the House. The bill bans “auto-play” sessions on websites and apps geared for children and young teens. The legislation also bans push alerts targeting children and prohibits platforms from recommending or amplifying certain content involving sexual, violent or other adult material, including gambling or “other dangerous, abusive, exploitative, or wholly commercial content.” 

    But the lawmakers cite research from last month by child advocacy nonprofits that examined more than 150 apps that are part of the program and found that almost half of them share user data with outside parties. 

    “We’re not concerned because we misunderstand how Apple’s system works. The problem is, we understand exactly how it works,” Princeton assistant professor Jonathan Mayer and graduate researcher Anunay Kulshrestha wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece. “Apple is making a bet that it can limit its system to certain content in certain countries, despite immense government pressures. We hope it succeeds in both protecting children and affirming incentives for broader adoption of encryption. But make no mistake that Apple is gambling with security, privacy and free speech worldwide.”

    They have also weighed heavily on its results, with corporate costs spiralling to $111.6 million, on the back of higher legal and compliance expenses associated with the various inquiries, and Sbobet higher insurance premiums.

    The hash scanning system will be applied only to photos stored in iCloud Photo Library, which is a photo syncing system built into Apple devices. It won’t hash images and videos stored in the photos app of a phone, tablet or computer that isn’t using iCloud Photo Library. So, in a way, people can opt out if they choose not to use Apple’s iCloud photo syncing services.

    “It’s really clear a lot of messages got jumbled pretty badly in terms of how things were understood,” Federighi said in his interview. “We wish that this would’ve come out a little more clearly for everyone because we feel very positive and strongly about what we’re doing.”

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