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Apple Opposes UK Government’s Review-Based Bill For Messaging Services

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Tech firm Apple Inc has decided to do away with services such as FaceTime and iMessage from its United Kingdom market instead of weakening security in the condition if new proposals are made law and acted upon.

Apple’s reference to the new law is regarding the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016 that the government is contemplating to implement. The UK government intends messaging services to be approved by the Home Office, before making security features available to clients. Under the law, the Home Office can render security features inactive, having not informed the public. As per the new update, this will be immediate.

Currently, before taking any action, there must be a review, there may also be an independent monitoring mechanism, and a technology business may appeal before the action. Little is known about how many of these demands have been made and whether they have been fulfilled due to the secrecy surrounding them.

At the moment, various messaging services have on offer end-to-end encryption, which means, messages can be unscrambled via the devices that receive or send the messages.

One provision in the Online Safety Bill that allows the communications regulator to mandate businesses to install technology to screen for child abuse material in encrypted messaging applications and other services was challenged by platforms like WhatsApp and Signal.

WhatsApp and Signal claim that despite Signal’s warning to “walk” away from the UK, they will not comply with it. Apple is also against the idea.

The proposed changes to the IPA, which currently permits the preservation of internet browser history for a year and permits the mass collecting of personal data, are the subject of an eight-week consultation launched by the government.

It states that they are “not about the creation of new powers” but rather about making the act more compatible with modern technologies. The law, which was once derided as a “snooper’s charter” by opponents, has always been opposed by Apple. Its nine-page response to the present consultation is lengthy.

Technology corporations were unlikely to accept the ideas, according to Surrey University’s Prof. Alan Woodward, an expert in cyber security.

“There is a degree of arrogance and ignorance from the government if they believe some of the larger tech companies will comply with the new requirements without a major fight,” he added.

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