Apple’s fall iOS software scans phones for images of child sexual abuse

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Apple announced yesterday that their new iOS software could be able to catch child predators.

Apple will start scanning iPhones, Macs and Apple Watches for images of child sexual abuse.

With iPhones being so popular, many child protective groups are excited about this new feature.

Like Chattanooga’s own, Street Grace, who says it could help stop trafficking right here in the Tennessee Valley.

Ryan Dunlap, Executive Director at Chattanooga Street Grace says, “By virtue of proximity,Chattanooga and the Tennessee region and anything along our East Coast, that goes through this area, is high risk for trafficking.”

Starting this fall, Apple will use its new iOS software to scan photos that are stored on Apple devices and compare them to a database of illegal images.

If a certain number of matches are found, the user will be reported for child abuse.

The feature will also be able to alert parents if their children receives or sends a sexually explicit photo.

Dunlap used to be a law enforcement investigator.

He says that tech companies and law enforcement agencies have had issues in the past with coming to a common ground about child sexual exploitation.

Features like these are a step in the right direction for them

“To see Apple taking such a proactive approach to going after exploitation, with how they are going to limit the exchange and distribution of child exploitation abuse materials across their platforms is incredibly encouraging”, adds Dunlap.

Dunlap warns that cell phones are not the only way children can be exposed.

Explicit photos could be shared on other apps as well.

We asked him, “What other steps do you think that parents should take to make sure that their kids are okay while they are on the internet?”

He says, “I will give you three things that I think parents can do to protect their kids. The first thing is to pay attention to their online friend groups. The next one is to look for unusual behavior and three is to monitor their online use.”

Some security researchers are worried that the software could be misused, specifically by the government.

However, this technology is already being used by Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

Categories: Consumer News, Featured, Local News, Technology