Apple has postponed plans to roll out detection technology which would have scanned US clients’ iPhones looking for child sexual abuse material.
It follows widespread criticism from privacy groups and others, stressed that the on-device tracking set a hazardous trend.
Apple said that it had paid attention to the negative input and was rethinking.
There were concerns the system could be abused by authoritarian states.
The supposed NeuralHash technology would have filtered pictures not long before they are uploaded to iCloud Photos. Then, at that point it would have coordinated with them against known kid sexual abuse material on a data set kept up with by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Assuming a match was discovered, it would have been physically surveyed by a human and, whenever required, steps taken to impair a client’s account and report it to law authorization.
It was because of launch later in the year.
In an statement, Apple said: “Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of child sexual abuse material.
“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”
Protection campaigners communicated worry that the technology could be extended and utilized by authoritarian governments to keep an eye on residents.
The Electronic Frontiers Foundation has been one of the most vocal critics of the framework, assembling an appeal endorsed by 25,000 clients restricting the move.
Its executive director Cindy Cohn told the BBC: “The company must go further than just listening and drop its plans to put a backdoor into its encryption entirely.”
“The enormous coalition that has spoken out will continue to demand that user phones – both their messages and their photos – be protected, and that the company maintains its promise to provide real privacy to its users.”
Apple has been an example of privacy and end-to-end encryption previously.