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UK police and charities say Apple’s privacy features are hindering surveillance, investigations

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UK police and children’s charities are criticizing Apple over a privacy feature that helps private browsing.

Apple launched “private relay,” a privacy feature that would make web traffic on iPhones and iPads private back in 2021. The feature uses double encryption to make sure the ISP, Apple, and content provider cannot link web traffic to a user as easily.

Apple claims it launched the app to stop social media companies from monitoring user’s traffic for targeted ads. However, the police have raised concerns that the feature will make investigations and surveillance more difficult.

“Online child sex offenses are at record levels with more than 100 crimes a day recorded by police in England and Wales last year,” said Anna Edmundson, the head of policy at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). “Rolling out features like private relay entrenches the misconception that there needs to be a trade-off between privacy and disrupting child abuse.

“The Online Safety Bill is an opportunity to incentivise investment in solutions that both protect privacy and keep children safe.”

The “The Online Safety Bill” is one of the biggest threats to free speech ever proposed in a Western democracy.

A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said: “End- to-end encryption makes investigating online crimes significantly harder. While we continue to prosecute those who abuse and exploit children online, we repeat our call for more to be done by technology companies in this space.”

The feature is not free though, a subscription is required, and other services such as VPNs are feely available to anyone that wants to browse privately anyway.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

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