The UK has been planning to update its Investigative Powers Act (IPA) 1200, which would require messaging services to disable their security features at the request of the authorities in an attempt to “protect the public from criminals, child sex abusers and terrorists”.
Apple has expressed concern that the new changes could compromise data security and information privacy, and has threatened to pull iMessage and FaceTime from the UK if the revised bill is passed.
WhatsApp and Signal are also strongly opposed to the Online Security Act, which essentially wants services to install end-to-end encrypted backdoors. Introducing workarounds for encrypted messages meant they were no longer encrypted, and Signal threatened to “get out” of the UK.
If the bill passes, messaging platforms will be required to inform the Home Office of any changes to product security features before they are released; non-UK companies must apply the change to their products globally and must act immediately without having to go through bureaucratic hurdles. Apple said the proposals “posed a serious and immediate threat” to people outside the UK.
The Investigative Powers Act is undergoing an eight-week consultation process on proposed amendments, with analysts predicting that tech companies are unlikely to embrace the changes.