MOSCOW, September 2. /TASS/. Violations of user rights by IT giants who are now directly checking information and data contained in people’s personal gadgets entails a risk that governments will later monopolize this function, former US NSA staffer Edward Snowden said on Thursday.
"It’s no longer a company question, it’s a government question. So, you have to ask yourself can Apple say no to the US government, the Russian government, the Chinese government, the German government, the French government, the British government? Of course, the answer is no. Not if they want to keep selling their products in these countries. That’s dangerous," he said.
He recalled that Apple earlier announced plans to look for illegal content on their phones even before this information is saved on their servers. "Instead of private companies scanning their files in the cloud on their system, now they are doing it on your phone. This has caused a lot of concern for people around the world even though they say that the system for now is only rolling out in the United States." Snowden noted. "The reasons for it are once Apple proves that it is possible for them to scan for some kind of forbidden content <…> they can’t decide in the future what kind of files would be searched for."
According to him, this function will give Apple opportunity to look through and search for any personal information stored on phones. "Now they are telling your device what to look for. And if they find something that’s forbidden, that’s against the law <…> but tomorrow it can be something else, some new category. You don’t know what they are scanning for," he said. "Once Apple breaks down this barrier between their servers and your phone and now they start scanning on your phone, they can scan for anything, they scan for political criticism, they can scan for financial records," he concluded.
In early August, Apple revealed that the company would start checking messages and iCloud content for child pornography. Apple said on Thursday that the necessary means to technically do that would be introduced in the new software for all its devices.