Apple threatens to remove two popular features for UK users over surveillance-bill proposals | The Sun

APPLE has reportedly threatened to remove FaceTime and iMessage from the UK should the government succeed in plans to change security laws.

The government is seeking to force messaging services to clear security features with the Home Office before releasing them to customers.

The government plans on doing this through updates to the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016.

The act lets the Home Office demand security features are disabled, without telling the public, following a review.

A company can then appeal a decision if they are unhappy with it.

However, if changes to the law are successful then these security alterations would have to be immediate – with no review or appeals process.


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Because of the secrecy surrounding these demands, little is known about how many have been issued and whether they have been complied with, according to the BBC.

It comes amid an uproar from fellow tech companies, including WhatsApp and Signal over the government's proposed Online Safety Bill.

The Bill, in its current form, wants companies to be required to install technology to scan for child-abuse material in encrypted messaging apps and other services.

Messaging services from WhatsApp, Signal and Apple all rely on end-to-end encryption, which means nobody other than the sender and intended recipient can read the message information.

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Not even the tech giants themselves.

All three companies have publicly opposed the Bill.

WhatsApp and Signal have even threatened to exit the UK for good should it be put into law.

Apple has put it's foot down when it comes to having to tell the Home Office of any changes to product security features before they are released.

The iPhone-maker has also opposed having to take action immediately if a notice to disable or block a feature is received from the Home Office.

Apple is adamant it will not make changes to security features specifically for one country, that would eventually weaken a product for all users globally.

While some changes would require issuing a software update so could not be made secretly, the company said.

The proposals, ultimately, "constitute a serious and direct threat to data security and information privacy" that would affect people outside the UK, according to the tech giant.

The Sun has contacted the government for comment.

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