Apple’s new child safety efforts 

  • Apple announced a new trio of new efforts for child protections on iPhone, iPad and Mac. These aim to give parents the opportunity to have a more informed role in protecting their children with communication online. 
  • For now, the features are limited to the US and coming into effect “later this year” to users under 18 on accounts set up as families in iCloud for iOS 15, iPad OS15 and macOS Monterey.
  • These include communication features in Messages, enhanced detection of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSM) content in iCloud and updated knowledge information for Siri and Search. 
  • Messages will use on-device machine learning to analyse image attachments and determine if a photo is sexually explicit. These tools will warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos 
  • New technology in iOS and iPadOS will allow Apple to detect known CSAM images stored in iCloud Photos. These instances are then reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Sew technology in iOS and iPadOS will allow Apple to detect known CSAM images stored in iCloud Photos. These instances are then reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  
  • You can access the full story here and Apple’s rundown of the features, here

MP Maria Miller pushes for AI ‘nudifying’ tool ban 

  • Maria Miller MP wants a parliamentary debate on whether digitally generated nude images need to be banned.
  • This comes as another Artificial Intelligence (AI) based service, that allows users to undress women in photos, spreads on social media.  
  • The website, DeepSukebe’ has had more than five million visits in June alone. 
  • Despite its popularity, social media is the least trusted source of news. 
  • Nudifying tools aren’t new – ‘DeepNude launched in 2019, but creators quickly withdrew the service and offered refunds following backlash.  
  • Maria Miller MP wants the issue to be included in the upcoming Online Safety Bill 
  • Full story here

NSPCC school sex abuse phone line receives more than 600 calls in 4-month period  

  • More than 600 people have placed to report sex abuse in schools in the four months since it was set up 
  • The NSPCC phone line received an average of 150 calls a months after its establishment following the thousands of testimonies posted on Everyone’s Invited website. You can check out our outline of Everyone’s Invited, here 
  • 114 calls were referred to external agencies, including the police and social services
  • The NSPCC reported that practitioners were providing advice for a variety of issues related to sexual abuse and exploitation, including harmful sexual behaviour, peer-on-peer abuse, and historic abuse. 
  • The full story can be accessed here. 

DCMS Sub-Committee’s new inquiry into harmful online content  

  • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry to investigate how the focus on harmful online content has shifted since the introduction of the Online Safety Strategy Green Paper in 2017.  
  • The government’s draft Online Safety Bill released in May 2021 would compel social media sites and search engines to remove harmful content such as terrorist content, child sexual exploitation and disinformation.
  • This includes concerns that the definition of harm is too narrow to address issues such as non-state intervention in elections, racist abuse and content that contributes to self-harming and negative body image.  
  • The inquiry will also explore key omissions in the draft Bill, including the general duty of tech companies to deal with reasonably foreseeable harms, a focus on transparency and regulatory powers to deal with urgent security threats. 
  • The full story can be accessed here

Facebook shutdown of misinformation researcher accounts  

  • Facebookhas disabled the personal accounts, apps, and Pages of twoNew York Universityresearchers who were studyingmisinformationspread via political ads on the platform. 
  • While Facebook claims the decision was because the researchers violated its terms of service and were involved in unauthorised data collection, the move has been criticised
  • Damian Collins MP, former Chair of House of Common DCMS Select Committee and head of the new ‘Super’ Committee set up to examine the upcoming Online Safety Bill accused Facebook of shutting down legitimate research to protect its own interests (see story here). 
  • Check out our post on misinformation here
  • Full story can be read here