LAS VEGAS -- Apple are scanning photos uploaded to its cloud service for signs of child abuse images, according to a senior privacy officer for the tech giant.
Speaking at a panel at CES in Las Vegas, Jane Horvath said Apple uses specialist software to automatically screen iPhone images backed up to iCloud.
She didn't go into any detail about the type of software they use but said they were being used to 'help screen for child sexual abuse material'.
It was confirmed as part of a roundtable debate into privacy issues and whether legislation is required to protect users personal information.
Ms Horvath was defending the fact Apple uses encryption on all of its devices to protect users private information - which includes health and financial data.
She said other solutions, such as software to detect signs of child abuse, were needed rather than opening 'back doors' into encryption as suggested by some law enforcement organisations and governments.
'Our phones are small and they are going to get lost and stolen', said Ms Horvath.
'If we are going to be able to rely on having health and finance data on devices then we need to make sure that if you misplace the device you are not losing sensitive information.'