Apple has fiercely opposed a British parliament amendment to a statute that would empower the government to require messaging services to undermine encryption that protects their customers. The Cupertino business stated that it will not undermine the end-to-end encryption provided to iMessage customers in one country. As part of planned revisions to an existing legislation, UK MPs are looking to weaken encryption of messaging platforms in order to arrest criminals.

The Online Safety Bill, which comprises proposed revisions to the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016, has been introduced in the UK parliament for consideration, and the government has begun an eight-week consultation process. One of the suggested adjustments will require services such as iMessage and Signal to install technology that will monitor child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on their platforms.

Backdoors in encrypted messaging applications are among the suggested modifications, as is requiring companies to provide data about any new security features they want to introduce on their individual platforms. It is important to note that building a backdoor for law enforcement or other sorts of authorised interception would also create weaknesses that hackers and cybercriminals may exploit.

Apple has also stated that it will not reduce its security protections for users worldwide, specifically for one country.

If the government implements the planned modifications to the IPA Act, Apple has threatened to suspend support for iMessage and FaceTime in the UK.

The UK government’s eight-week consultation period will include input from the industry. The Home Office responded to the BBC by noting that the IPA Act was enacted to protect the public from “criminals, child sex abusers, and terrorists” and that “no decisions have yet been made” while alluding to the consultation that is part of the review process.

 

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