Apple has stated that if the UK enacts new surveillance bill that could weaken security, it will opt to remove services like FaceTime and iMessage from the country. The government aims to update the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016, seeking messaging services to obtain clearance from the Home Office for their security features before making them available to customers.
The act lets the Home Office demand security features are disabled, without telling the public. Under the update, this would have to be immediate.
Currently, a review is necessary. There can also be an independent oversight process. It will allow a technology company to appeal before taking any action. The secrecy surrounding these demands has limited our knowledge. It is the knowledge about who issued the requests and whether they have been complied with. However, many messaging services currently provide end-to-end encryption. It means only the devices sending and receiving the messages can unscramble them.
WhatsApp and Signal are among the platforms to have opposed a clause in the Online Safety Bill allowing the communications regulator to require companies to install technology to scan for child-abuse material in encrypted messaging apps and other services.
They will not comply with it, they say, with Signal threatening to “walk” from the UK. Apple has also opposed the plan like UK surveillance bill.
The government has opened an eight-week consultation on the proposed amendments to the IPA., which already enables the storage of internet browsing records for 12 months and authorises the bulk collection of personal data.
They are “not about the creation of new powers” but making the act more relevant to current technology, it says.