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U.K. Investigatory Powers Bill challenged by Apple

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U.K. Investigatory Powers Bill challenged by Apple
The day after Apple CEO Tim Cook told a national television audience why he doesn't think having a back door on the iPhone is a good idea, the tech titan challenged a bill proposed in the U.K. that could force Apple to open a back door for iMessages, and allow law enforcement agencies in the country to intercept communications by users of Apple devices.

The formal challenge issued by Apple came in the form of an eight page submission to the parliamentary committee that is looking over the Investigatory Powers Bill. Apple complained that by creating backdoors and intercepts, it would "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." That is the same point made by Tim Cook yesterday on CBS-TV's 60 Minutes. The committee will announce its final decision in February.

Apple's use of end-to-end encryption on iMessage means that only the sender and recipient of a message can see it without the encryption. Apple itself cannot break the code. And while the current laws in the the U.K. require companies to provide as much information as possible when a warrant is issued, the law does not force tech companies to rework their devices to allow government officials to intercept messages. When law enforcement demands information from Apple about a particular call or message, it will provide metadata but not the content of the communication in question. Metadata provides the basic bare bones information about phone calls and SMS/MMS messages.


U.K. Prime Minister Prime Minister David Cameron says that collecting data is one of the keys to stopping terrorist attacks. While Cook's comments on 60 Minutes were taped prior to the recent terror attacks in Paris, Apple is still concerned that if the bill passes, it will be used as an excuse by authorities to snoop around iPhone user's handsets. And the company is also concerned that U.K. officials will be given the rights to seek information stored on Apple's servers out of the country.

source: BBC  via AppleInsider

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