With Apple still (as of this post) looks to be abandoning their position as a privacy leader with their introduction of a backdoor on all Apple devices, it is time to discuss alternatives to Apple’s products. Note, I don’t mean the IOS and macOS operating systems, as Android and Windows are even worse when it comes to privacy protections and government’s abilities to spy on these products, but rather the apps in question that started this whole brouhaha, Apple Photos and Message.
Today, I am going to discuss alternatives to Apple Photos. The issue with changing to an alternative is that Apple Photos app is so well integrated with Apple’s camera. New photos you take on IOS devices are automatically added to the Photos app. From there, they are uploaded to iCloud Photos automatically if you have this enabled. As this is where their backdoor will operate, scanning images when uploading to iCloud, this is the first thing you should disable, assuming that you trust that Apple is being truthful in how their backdoor works. Whether this scanning also occurs when you use My Photo Stream as opposed to iCloud Photos is unknown. To be cautious, you should probably assume that Apple will be scanning these photos as well.
So, what are your options? There are many alternative cloud-based photo services such as Google Photos, Flickr, Adobe Creative Cloud and others. This article details some cloud-based alternatives. You should still assume that your photos are being scanned for child porn and other illegal content with these services, however unlike the anonymous hash database that Apple uses where users have no idea what it contains or how it can be used against them, a protest regarding an image uploaded to another cloud service is more likely to be in the open and challengeable, assuming that a mistake has been made. Of course, I could be entirely wrong in this regard, in which case non-cloud alternatives are your next choice.
Synology’s and QNAP’s products are just some examples of NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices that come with impressive photo management software. These photo apps allow you to sync, store, and share photos you take, all the while keeping them on your local network. Of course, if you are going to keep your photos on your local network, be sure that you have a robust backup solution in place, otherwise you risk losing all your photos should a local disaster occur. Which NAS is the best local storage solution for you will depend on your needs and budget – however this article is a good place to start your research if you want to go this route.
The bottom line, you have alternatives to submitting to Apple’s backdoor monitoring, assuming that they are being honest regarding how it works and what it scans, that don’t require that you either give up taking photos or switching to an alternative mobile platform.