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Apple Speaks Out Against UK Government Powers Bill

21 December 2015, 8:21 pm EST By Christian de Looper Tech Times
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Apple has spoken out against a new bill being considered in the UK, which would grant the government the ability to order tech companies to hand over personal information about users.  ( Stephen Lam | Getty Images )

Apple is calling for the UK government to make changes to an investigatory powers bill, suggesting that it could lead to the weakening of security for millions of citizens and their personal information.

The proposed bill essentially overhauls rules on how authorities in the UK can access personal communications.

"We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat," said Apple in a statement. "In this rapidly evolving cyber-threat environment, companies should remain free to implement strong encryption to protect customers."

The bill was first presented back in November, and Apple suggests that it could give authorities the ability to request that it change how services like iMessage work. According to Apple, this would mean the weakening of encryption so that authorities can eavesdrop on conversations.

The government, however, claims that the new bill doesn't really do anything other than bring forth past abilities that were already available to the government. Despite this, tech firms are afraid that the main difference is that the language utilized in the new legislation widens the scope of the powers available to the government, whereas previously, the laws only affected traditional Internet service providers.

Apple also showed concern over a section of the bill that allows security services to hack into computers around the world. Provisions are included that require communication firms to help the government in these situations, something that Apple is particularly worried about.

"It would place businesses like Apple — whose relationship with customers is in part built on a sense of trust about how data will be handled — in a very difficult position," continued the company.

Other tech companies have expressed concern over this legislation and other laws like it, especially if countries with worse human rights records than the UK enacted a similar piece of legislation.

Via: The Guardian

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