Apple’s controversial new child protection features, explained

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Apple stakes its reputation on privacy. The company has promoted encrypted messaging across its ecosystem, encouraged limits on how mobile apps can gather data, and fought law enforcement agencies looking for user records. For the past week, though, Apple has been fighting accusations that its upcoming iOS and iPadOS release will weaken user privacy.

The debate stems from an announcement Apple made on Thursday. In theory, the idea is pretty simple: Apple wants to fight child sexual abuse, and it’s taking more steps to find and stop it. But critics say Apple’s strategy could weaken users’ control over their own phones, leaving them reliant on Apple’s promise that it won’t abuse its power. And Apple’s response has highlighted just how…

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