British Surveillance Laws: Apple Might Withdraw Services

The UK government is planning to increase the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), which is a bill that dictates how security agencies can monitor messages and get private data for investigations.

According to the changes, a “skilled person” must write a report for communications regulator Ofcom before it uses the new powers to compel a firm to scan messages, which was possible in previous versions of the bill.

But Apple, as well as other tech giants like Meta and Signal are upset, and they’re not going down without a fight and Apple has launched an attack on government proposals that would force tech firms to clear new privacy features with the Home Office.

And so Apple has threatened to fully remove FaceTime and iMessage services in the country, all because it doesn’t want to weaken the security of its products.

The extended powers could dramatically disrupt the global market for security technologies, Apple also warns, “putting users in the UK and around the world at greater risk.”

The changes to IPA would require tech companies to clear new security features for their products with the Home Office before releasing them to customers.

This new bill would also let the government force companies to disable the security features of their products without telling the public.

Apple claims that encrypted content and online privacy in general would be endangered, and expresses opposition to the requirement for non-UK-based companies to comply with the changes that would affect their product globally.

Apple stated in an announcement that the proposals would “make the Home Office the de facto global arbiter of what level of data security and encryption are permissible,” and added that it would not make changes to security features specifically for one country that would weaken a product for all users.

Finally, Apple stated it had never built a backdoor in its products for governments to use, so it would rather entirely withdraw security features from the British market.

The UK proposals are not the same as the regulations across its allied nations, including the US and European Union (EU) and Apple says the UK law would, “impinge on the right of other governments to determine for themselves the balance of data security and government access” in their own countries.

Apple has said planned changes to British surveillance laws could affect iPhone users’ privacy by forcing it to withdraw security features, which could ultimately lead to the closure of services such as FaceTime and iMessage in the UK.

iHIS:     Sky:     Computer World:     Android Police:     The Guardian:     BBC

 

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