Apple to start out matching iPhone and iCloud photographs for youngster abuse imagery

Apple to start matching iPhone and iCloud photos for child abuse imagery

The new service will turn photos on devices into an unreadable set of hashes — or complex numbers — stored on user devices, the company explained at a press conference. Those numbers will be matched against a database of hashes provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In taking this step, Apple (AAPL) is following some other big tech companies such as Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB). But it’s also trying to strike a balance between safety and privacy, the latter of which Apple has stressed as a central selling point for its devices.

Some privacy advocates were quick to raise concerns about the effort.

“Apple is replacing its industry-standard end-to-end encrypted messaging system with an infrastructure for surveillance and censorship, which will be vulnerable to abuse and scope-creep not only in the US, but around the world,” says Greg Nojeim, co-director of the Security & Surveillance Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology. “Apple should…