Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, attacks Apple for the feature that will allow the detection of child pornography images uploaded to iCloud and exchanged through Messages, leaving the idea that Apple’s initiative is just a pretext to allow governments and various regimes to carry out surveillance operations.

Along the lines of other criticism that has come at Apple for the initiative (but there has been no shortage of praise from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC), Sweeney used Twitter to express doubts about Apple’s idea.

“I’ve tried hard to see this from Apple’s perspective,” reads one of Sweeney’s threads, “but ineluctably this is government sypware installed by Apple based on a presumption of guilt. Although Apple wrote the code, its function is to scan personal data and report it to governments.”

And again, “It’s something totally different than a system for moderating content in a public forum or social media. Before the operator chooses to publish the data, they can scan it to identify items that they don’t want to host but here we are dealing with people’s confidential data.”

Apple Vs Epic, Il CEO di Epic Games non ha fatto una bella figura al processoApple Vs Epic, Il CEO di Epic Games non ha fatto una bella figura al processoTim Sweeney

Sweeney points the finger against the mechanism foreseen by Apple that foresees the scanning of the images uploaded by the user comparing them looking for similarities with databases of child pornographic photographs provided by organizationsIn the presence of similarities, a mechanism is activated that provides for further verification with alerts to staff responsible for monitoring, eventually forwarding everything to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

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Sweeney goes on to talk about “dark patterns” that by default control the photos uploaded to iCloud Photos, forcing people to provide data, alluding again to the impossibility of disabling the checks on Apple’s servers and on the entire ecosystem.

Then alluding to the antitrust issue between Apple and Epic, with Epic accusing Apple of abusing its dominant position on the App Store, Sweeney states that “presumably, Apple will now act as a branch of state surveillance wherever required”, making vague references to alleged agreements with the Chinese government (and to the possibility of checking not only for child pornography but also for symbols and other photos disliked by the government).

Sweeney concludes his tweets fearing an “existential threat”, possible from the birth of an “unholy alliance” between governments and monopolies that could control online dialogues on all devices, using pretexts of multinationals “to circumvent the respect of the guarantees provided by the Constitution”.

Epic’s CEO doesn’t remember this, but Epic is also in some way controlled by the Chinese: Tencent (a giant that provides services for entertainment, mass media, internet and mobile phones in China), owns 40% of Epic Games and numerous other companies in the video game industry.

The diatribe of Epic Games against Apple began with theintroduction in Fortnite of a direct payment system prohibited by the rules of the App Store, but also by the rules of Google Play Store: the game has been expelled from both digital stores. All developments in the affair are available from this page.

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