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This article was published on December 22, 2015

Apple slams the UK’s surveillance bill for crippling security

Apple slams the UK’s surveillance bill for crippling security
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
Story by

Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

Apple has called for changes to be made to the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill, which aims to track citizens’ internet use and increase government agencies’ abilities to snoop on citizens. The company fears that if the proposal goes into effect, it would drastically affect its customers’ security and privacy.

The bill was published last month and is currently being reviewed. In a submission to the bill committee, Apple said:

We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat. In this rapidly evolving cyber-threat environment, companies should remain free to implement strong encryption to protect customers.

It also said that the bill could grant the government the power to demand that Apple weaken encryption to allow it snoop on iMessage users’ conversations.

The company added:

The creation of backdoors and intercept capabilities would weaken the protections built into Apple products and endanger all our customers. A key left under the doormat would not just be there for the good guys. The bad guys would find it too.

Apple also expressed its concerns about many of the provisions in the bill that apply to companies based within and outside the UK:

Those businesses affected will have to cope with a set of overlapping foreign and domestic laws. When these laws inevitably conflict, the businesses will be left having to arbitrate between them, knowing that in doing so they might risk sanctions. That is an unreasonable position to be placed in.

It’ll be interesting to see how the committee deciding the fate of the bill responds next year; it has until February 11 to to scrutinize the proposed legislation and publish a report with its findings.

Apple calls on UK government to scale back snooper’s charter [The Guardian]