When Apple announced a new program that would scan photos in all products, from phones to tablets and more, whether the owners wanted that or not, privacy experts rose up to protest.
The company then said it would delay the program “while consulting with various groups about its impact,” according to a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
But the EFF has now issued a warning that consumers should not allow themselves to become complacent about the plans for the company’s breach of privacy.
“The delay may well be a diversionary tactic,” the organization explained in a report this week. “Every September, Apple holds one of its big product announcement events, where Apple executives detail the new devices and features coming out. Apple likely didn’t want concerns about the phone-scanning features to steal the spotlight.”
The EFF said the program “poses an enormous danger to privacy and security,” and the “disastrous” idea should not be allowed to fade into the background.
The group said in pursuit of that goal, it launched a flying banner over the company’s massive headquarters in Cupertino, California, with the message: “Apple: Don’t scan our phones!”
EFF said just before Apple’s publicity event, protesters also “rallied nationwide in front of Apple stores” in support of the standard for Apple products on encryption, which allows people to maintain “their digital privacy and security in an increasingly insecure world.”
EFF explained, “Now that Apple’s September event is over, Apple must reach out to groups that have criticized it and seek a wider range of suggestions on how to deal with difficult problems, like protecting children online. EFF, for its part, will be holding an event with various groups that work in this space to share research and concerns that Apple and other tech companies should find useful. While Apple tends to announce big features without warning, that practice is a dangerous one when it comes to making sweeping changes to technology as essential as secure messaging.”
The organization said while other companies are moving toward encryption and privacy, “it’s an open question whether Apple will continue to be one of them.”