U.K. Investigatory Powers Bill challenged by Apple

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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11 Comments

1. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Like them or hate their hypocrisy and ripoff products (like I do), it is a really good move on their part to actually challenge this privacy invading BS. Good move Apple.

2. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

indeed

3. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Good move indeed, sadly bashers still gonna bash.

4. bambamboogy02

Posts: 838; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

So terrorist can use imessage and no one would be the wiser as to their plans....

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

not really.. police, government, and any other judicial institute have the right to ask for their (apple or etc) cooperation to solve any kind of crime and invertigation

6. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

They can ask all they like, but iMessages are out of their reach, as are locked iPhones on iOS 8 or above due to default encryption.

7. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

And who exactly labels who as terrorist? This will be sniffing through everyone's conversations regardless if terrorist or not. Next thing you know, someone hacks into apple's servers and begins sniffing that same data that was being used to find "terrorists" to exploit innocent individuals. Heck, what stops them so-claimed "Law Enforcement Agencies" from abusing such power? TLDR: Values change, the data doesn't

8. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

Is there no other end to end encrypted messaging service?

9. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

There is, but Apple's encryption tech (As from iOS 8) is great. As much as I despise Apple, I must admit that they indeed have excellent customer care and security.

10. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I agree with the "cook"ie monster on this. A backdoor is a backdoor and if you make one for good guys bad guys will use it too when found. The worse they can do is prevent the product from being sold in their country. SO BE IT If you have nothing to sell people, then your economy goes down the drain. Terrorist are a real threat. But most of it is because said country brought it on themselves like the USA. There are means and ends and ways to deal with it without making backdoors. Tell the Government to get their people onto iMessage and pretend they are extremist so they can try to find who they want too. Just like they pretend to be kids to catch pedophiles and how they pretend to be females to catch men. We lost enough privacy to the frikkin Government, no matter what country we are talking about.

11. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Meh... stance on bills and acts like the Investigatory Powers Act comes down to personal socio-political ethos. Some may contend that so long as even one life is saved that governmental overreach like this is warranted. Others may contend that even the slightest intrusion on privacy is deplorably unjustifiable. Really, those beliefs are neither here nor there... Unless... Unless, you're a denizen of the UK. This is a matter for the people of the UK to decide upon and, consequentially, act upon. Now what was the purpose of that little ramble? Only this. This is the UK's walled garden. Their rules. Apple should certainly be no stranger to a walled garden. With this Act in place there, they can either choose to play by the rules, choose to not play at all, or... choose to break the rules and face the consequences. Much like the same options they offer to consumers.

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