Edited by BellaRose Okojie
The iPhone iOS is gearing for a new update and this time, communication security in messages is the focus. According to a report, this new update is aimed at protecting children who have access to smartphones and the inherent risk of such early exposure.
This iMessage protection or “Communication Security in Messages” feature (as it is being called) is one of three planned features expected to have launched with iOS 15 last year. At the launch of iOS 15 however, all three features were not included in the upgrade – Image scanning or anti-CSAM, Search warnings, and Communication security in messages.
Due to the potential abuse of these features, users questioned the privacy of their data; images stored on iCloud, and their messages. The questions raised by its customers prompted Apple to slow down on running to town with these features to the public, however, it has begun releasing them in bite size.
Communication Security in Messages for children, keeping rated images in check
Communication security in messages for children aims at preventing harmful content like nude images, from getting to young and tender minds. With this feature enabled by the child’s parent or guardian, the child won’t be able to receive or send any nude content.
Apple had indicated that parents would be alerted once any illicit content was sent to their children. But, due to questions about the end-to-end encryption of iMessage chats, the company has shelved that plan. Instead of sending notifications to anyone once the AI detects nude content on a child’s device, the child will simply receive a prompt not to download or send such content.
We posit that this feature could potentially help parents identify predators who wish to share rated content with young ones, but Apple maintains that elevated user privacy is more important. In a statement, Apple noted that “the feature is designed so that no indication of the detection of nudity ever leaves the device. Apple does not get access to the messages, and no notifications are sent to the parent or anyone else.”
Apple’s Communication security in messages feature will be rolled out to more regions soon, but is currently available in the UK and Canada. The company notes that it will be available on iPhones running iOS 15.2 or above, and is not related to the anti-CSAM feature that Apple might still be working on.
What do you think about this feature? Should parents get notifications when such rated content is shared with them? Or is privacy also a big deal to you?