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Apple announces it will scan users' iCloud photos to catch child abusers
Via Pexels and Sean MacEntee / Flickr

Apple has taken a huge step towards protecting children by announcing its new plan to scan iPhone photos for images of child abuse. The company will use a "neural match" system to scan photographs and if anything looks suspicious, a human at Apple will be notified to review the images and contact the authorities if necessary.

According to Apple, the new system will "continuously scan photos that are stored on a US user's iPhone and have also been uploaded to its iCloud back-up system."

The system is designed to protect users' privacy by scanning photos without making private communications readable by the company.


Julia Cordua, CEO of Thorn, said that Apple's technology balances "the need for privacy with digital safety for children." Thorn is a nonprofit that uses technology to protect children from sexual abuse.

The neural match system was trained to find images of abused children by scanning a massive database of photos supplied by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"Apple's expanded protection for children is a game-changer," John Clark, the president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said in a statement. "With so many people using Apple products, these new safety measures have the life-saving potential for children who are being enticed online and whose horrific images are being circulated in child sexual abuse material."

Ninety percent of all photos are taken with mobile phones and Apple is the number one selling smartphone in America. That means child abusers will have a much harder time getting away with their heinous acts without being caught.

Apple's decision to scan the cloud to catch child abusers is a bit of an about-face for the company. In the past, it has steadfastly stood up to law enforcement agencies' requests to use its technology to glean information for criminal investigations.

While organizations that protect children are excited about the new system, some fear the new technology will be exploited by bad actors to invade people's privacy. Worse, it could open floodgates for governments across the globe to access Apple users' personal data.

"What happens when the Chinese government says, 'Here is a list of files that we want you to scan for,'" Matthew Green, a top cryptography researcher at Johns Hopkins, asks. "Does Apple say no? I hope they say no, but their technology won't say no."

"This will break the dam — governments will demand it from everyone," Green tweeted.

"It is an absolutely appalling idea, because it is going to lead to distributed bulk surveillance of . . . our phones and laptops," Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge, said according to Financial Times.

Some fear that the technology will be used to set people up. A bad actor could send someone a photo that triggers the system, putting the unwilling person in serious trouble.

If Apple's new system goes according to plan, it will be a powerful tool to catch those who abuse children and will be a strong deterrent as well. But if the system's critics are correct, it could destroy the trust consumers have with Apple and give authoritarians direct access to our private lives.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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