iMessage

Facing possible legislation that would require messaging services to offer backdoors in end-to-end encryption, Apple is saying it would rather remove apps like iMessage and FaceTime entirely from the UK market (via BBC News).

The new Online Safety Bill is currently under review. Apple, WhatsApp, Signal, and other services have voiced their opposition to the proposal.

The UK government wants the ability to scan end-to-end encrypted messages, for child-abuse material and other illegal content. They argue the existing law accommodates this but is technically outdated by the security provisions of modern technology.

Apple has submitted a nine-page opposition to the planned bill. It strongly objects to requirements such as backdoors for end-to-end encryption, reporting changes to product security features before they are released and being forced to disable security features before an appeals process can take place.

The company said it would not make changes for one country that would weaken security for all of its users, threatening instead to disable iMessage and FaceTime for UK customers.

The proposed law is currently undergoing an eight-week consultation period. Obviously, Apple and others hope the government will revise the bill in response to the criticism.

Apple previously withdrew plans for its own CSAM-scanning feature for iCloud Photos, following pushback from customers and human rights groups. Apple’s solution was more privacy-preserving than what is now proposed by the UK government.

Follow Benjamin Mayo @bzamayo on Mastodon, Threads, and Twitter.

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