Apple to bring child Communication Safety in Messages tool to the UK
Apple is preparing to bring its child Communication Safety in Messages feature to the UK, marking the first international expansion of the tool that warns children and their parents when a child receives or sends sexually explicit photos through iMessage.
Launched in the US with iOS 15.2 last year, Apple’s child Communication Safety in Messages feature sends warnings to alert children and parents when a sexually explicit image is sent or received on a device connected to iCloud Family Sharing as well as the automatic blurring of explicit images sent in Messages.
Reported by The Guardian on Wednesday, Apple is yet to confirm an exact release date for the feature in the UK, with the iPhone maker still to release its full set of child safety tools announced in 2021, which includes Child Sexual Abuse Material, CSAM detection when explicit images are detected in a user’s library, and more.
When receiving this type of content, Apple says the photo will be blurred and the child will be warned, presented with helpful resources, and reassured it is okay if they do not want to view this photo. As an additional precaution, the child can also be told that, to make sure they are safe, their parents will get a message if they do view it. Similar protections are available if a child attempts to send sexually explicit photos. The child will be warned before the photo is sent, and the parents can receive a message if the child chooses to send it.
The Messages app uses on-device machine learning to analyze image attachments and determine if a photo is sexually explicit. The feature is designed so that Apple does not get access to the messages.