Apple has announced it will shut down FaceTime and iMessage services in the UK if authorities pass amendments to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 that would allow the UK Home Office to require security features in apps to be disabled without notifying the public.
Under current regulations, in the event of an official request to disable security features in the software, an audit must be conducted with the possibility of independent oversight, and the tech company can appeal before taking any action. writes BBC. It should also be noted that many messaging services use end-to-end encryption, preventing unauthorized persons from accessing confidential information.
New legislative changes that would allow regulators to require companies to install means of scanning child abuse material on encrypted messaging apps and other services have been opposed by a number of platforms, including WhatsApp and Signal. In addition, the owner of the Signal Messenger threatened to leave the UK market if they were accepted.
As the BBC source noted, Apple has consistently opposed this law, also known as the “espionage charter.” Specifically, Apple said it would not make any country-specific changes to security features that would affect all users. The company pointed out that some changes require the release of a software update, which cannot be done in secret. In addition, Apple expressed the view that the proposed changes “pose a serious and direct threat to data security and confidentiality of information”, This affects users outside of the UK.