July 22, 2023THNMoreEncryption/Privacy

Apple has warned against a new proposal to expand the digital surveillance powers available to national intelligence agencies that it would be better off discontinuing its iMessage and FaceTime services in the UK than bowing to government pressure.

Development first report According to BBC News, the iPhone maker has become the latest company to join the chorus of voices protesting the upcoming law change. Investigative Powers Act (IPAs) in 2016, encrypted in a way that effectively defeats cryptographic protection.

in particular, online safety bill It requires businesses to deploy technology that scans encrypted messaging apps and other services for child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) and terrorism content. It also requires messaging services to clear consultations with the Home Office before releasing security features and, if necessary, take steps to disable them immediately without informing the public.

While this fact does not explicitly call for the removal of end-to-end encryption, it effectively weakens the encryption as the company providing the service must scan, flag and delete all messages. This is seen as a disproportionate measure that allows the government to conduct mass interception and surveillance.

Apple told the British broadcaster that such clauses “pose a serious and direct threat to data security and information privacy”.

Earlier this April, many messaging apps that currently offer encrypted chat, including Element, Signal, Threema, Viber, Meta-owned WhatsApp, and Wire. open letterurged the UK government to reconsider its approach and “encourage businesses to offer their residents more privacy and security”.

“This bill does not provide explicit protections for encryption and, if implemented as written, could empower OFCOM to seek to enforce proactive scanning of private messages on end-to-end encrypted communications services, thereby defeating the purpose of end-to-end encryption and violating the privacy of all users,” the letter reads.

Apple previously announced its own plans to flag potentially problematic and inappropriate content in iCloud Photos, but abandoned it last year after backlash from digital rights groups over concerns that the feature could be abused to compromise user privacy and security.

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This isn’t the first time there’s been a battle between end-to-end encryption and the need to combat serious online crime.

In May 2021, WhatsApp sued the Indian government to block internet regulations that would force messaging apps to unlock them. incorporate be Mechanism of traceability Failure to identify the “first originator of the information” risks facing criminal penalties.the case is still pending.

Apple’s refusal to play ball is consistent with Apple’s public position on privacy, which allows Apple to position itself as a “.privacy herowhich focuses on collecting user data in order to serve targeted advertisements.

But it also feels hollow given the fact that all messages sent to and from non-Apple devices are unencrypted, and SMS does not support end-to-end encryption, which can open the door for government surveillance.

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