Bugs in our pockets: the risks of client-side scanning
Despite its evident advantages, law enforcement and national security agencies have argued that the spread of cryptography has hindered access to evidence and intelligence. Some in industry and government now advocate a new technology to access targeted data: client-side scanning. Instead of weakening encryption or providing law enforcement with backdoor keys to decrypt communications, CSS would enable on-device analysis of data in the clear. If targeted information were detected, its existence and, potentially, its source, would be revealed to the agencies; otherwise, little or no information would leave the client device. Its proponents claim that CSS is a solution to the encryption versus public safety debate: it offers privacy - in the sense of unimpeded end-to-end encryption - and the ability to successfully investigate serious crime. In this report, we argue that CSS neither guarantees efficacious crime prevention nor prevents surveillance. CSS by its nature creates serious security and privacy risks for all society while the assistance it can provide for law enforcement is at best problematic.