Although the security It is a key issue for Apple, this not only applies when it comes to its customers, but goes further and involves protocols to avoid harming innocent people. As confirmed by Apple's privacy director, during the CES 2020 held in Las Vegas, the company uses detection technology to search for illegal images.
Although Apple did not delve into the algorithms it used to achieve a match that alerts you to such content, a search order issued on behalf of Homeland Security Investigations has provided an idea of how Apple detects and reports images of child abuse uploaded to iCloud or sent through your email servers.
Apple detects images of child abuse in iCloud
According to the information published from 9to5mac the company performs at a automated review, similar to the one carried out by most technological companies. Each image is identified with a digital signature or hash and reviewed to match images with a similar pattern.
According to the statement made from Homeland Security Investigations to Forbes, once an image is detected, the next step implies communication with the corresponding authority that in the case of the United States, is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. However, before this communication, it is known that Apple makes a manual confirmation, and only then provide the law enforcement agencies with the name, address and mobile phone number associated with the corresponding Apple ID.
According to the comments of an Apple employee, belonging to the area that evaluates this type of images, this verification is implemented from the first time an iCloud user uploaded "Several images of alleged child pornography". At the same time I say that Apple only examines the images when they have been compared with the hash of a known image, so there must be a very low risk of Apple intercepting and seeing innocent images and ensuring protection against a hash error.
This process confirms that Apple is very careful with the personal information of your customers, but it does not stop acting before the presumption of a crime, so it has a defined process to minimize the risk of a false accusation.