Apple attacks proposed updates to UK laws over new security features

This is an image of an Apple security image over the UK flag
(Image credit: Apple / Future (modified))

The UK government hopes to update the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016. In fact, it will be debated soon in the House of Lords, which has Apple hot under the collar.

Why? New updates to that act seek to give the UK government new powers to pre-approve "new security features introduced by tech firms," according to a new BBC report.  It goes on to note that "Under the proposed amendments to existing laws," meaning the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016 "if the UK Home Office declined an update, it then could not be released in any other country, and the public would not be informed.” 

The report notes that Apple was angry about the possible legal changes: "We're deeply concerned the proposed amendments to the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) now before Parliament place users' privacy and security at risk." It also said that it's an "unprecedented overreach" by the UK government. If enacted, Apple said "the UK could attempt to secretly veto new user protections globally preventing us from ever offering them to customers."

A government spokesperson said: "We have always been clear that we support technological innovation and private and secure communications technologies, including end-to-end encryption, but this cannot come at a cost to public safety."

How much power should governments have over privacy-focused tech?

Apple wasn't the only group against the changes to the UK bill. The BBC said that Big Brother Watch, Liberty, Open Rights Group and Privacy International, were also opposed.

Apple has vehemently disagreed with the UK government in the past. Back in 2015, Apple went on the warpath over the same bill: Back then, according to Appleinsider, Apple’s Tim Cook on Monday had “voiced staunch opposition to the UK's proposed Investigatory Powers Bill, a measure that would force companies to retain customer data and may require them to install backdoors in any encrypted systems. ‘To protect people who use any products, you have to encrypt,’ Cook told the Telegraph. ‘You can just look around and see all the data breaches that are going on...we believe very strongly in end to end encryption and no back doors.’"

Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.