San Francisco—On Wednesday, September 8, at 9 am PT, internationally renowned security technologist Bruce Schneier and EFF Policy Analyst Joe Mullin will speak on a panel with digital rights activists delivering petitions with more than 50,000 signatures calling on Apple to cancel its iPhone surveillance software program. The briefing will be held via Zoom.

Apple’s announcement last month that it plans to install two scanning systems on all of its phones was a disappointment that stands to shatter the tech giant’s credibility on protecting users’ privacy. The iPhone scanning harms privacy for all iCloud photo users, continuously scanning user photos to compare them to a secret government-created database of child abuse images. The parental notification scanner uses on-device machine learning to scan messages, then informs a third party, which breaks the promise of end-to-end encryption.

Acknowledging the outcry by customers and activists against the program, Apple said it’s gathering more feedback and making improvements before launching the scanning features. This does not go far enough. The petitions call on Apple to abandon its surveillance plan, which goes against the company’s long-standing commitment to privacy and security, as well as its history of rejecting backdoors to access content on our phones. EFF, Fight for the Future, and OpenMedia gathered signatures for the petitions that will be emailed to Apple on September 8. EFF is one of 90 organizations that signed on to a letter urging Apple CEO Tim Cook to stop the company’s plans to weaken privacy and security on Apple’s iPhones and other products.

Schneier and Mullin will discuss how Apple’s program opens the door to other surveillance. It will give ammunition to authoritarian governments wishing to expand surveillance and censorship.

Don’t Scan our Phones Petitions to Apple

Wednesday, September 8, 9 am PT

Bruce Schneier, Security Technologist
Caitlin Seeley George, Director of Campaigns and Operations, Fight for the
Joe Mullin, Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Matt Hatfield, Director of Campaigns, OpenMedia

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