Police to begin regular, warrant-free searches of homes for child abuse material August 10, 2021 on Drew DeVault's blog

The Federal Bureau of Investigations announced a new initiative today to combat the proliferation of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) in the United States. Starting next year, police will be conducting regular searches of US homes, as often as once or twice per week per home, to find child sexual abuse materials. This initiative will bring more child abusers to justice and help abuse victims to find solace in the knowledge that records of their abuse are not being shared in perpetuity.

To facilitate frequent and convenient searches, the FBI will be working with lock manufacturers to institute a new standard for home locks in the United States which permits their use via a “master key”, to be held securely by authorized government employees only. These new locks will become mandatory for all new homes next year, and a gradual process of retrofitting will take place in existing homes with the goal of having the program up to its full throughput no later than 2024.

In response to questions raised by child abuse apologists concerned privacy advocates, the director of the FBI stated in a press conference:

Of course, for citizens who do not possess images of child sexual abuse, there is no cause for concern. Search operatives will undergo a mandatory 2 hour training course, and will be instructed to disregard anything they find or learn in the course of their searches which does not involve CSAM. Through our partnership with industry leaders in home security, we will make the process as safe and convenient as possible, so that authorized officers may enter your home at any time and quietly conduct their business without disturbing your day. We are excited about this unprecedented opportunity to curb the distribution of child abuse material in this country.

In short, government officials are confident that the possibility of having your home searched at any time will ultimately pose little to no inconvenience to Americans, particularly with respect to the things they choose to do, people they choose to associate with, and things they say to their family and friends in the privacy of their homes.

The director also noted the numerous jobs which will be created to fill the increased demand for officers, and petitioned congress for the appropriate increase to their budget.

…wait. This is happening, but I got some of the details wrong.

It’s not homes which are being searched, but the digital devices we use for all of our communication and information storage and retrieval needs in contemporary life.

And it’s not lock manufacturers that are making it possible, but Apple. And the government didn’t ask: they volunteered.

And it’s not police officers, but a proprietary machine learning algorithm that no one understands.

Oh, and it’s not happening one or two times a week, but on an ongoing basis, every time you use your device.

I did get a few things, right though. The only thing which limits the scope of searches will be whichever things Apple chooses to search or not to search. And whatever Congress demands they repurpose the system to use. Ah — and it is warrant-free.

Won’t you think of the children?


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