The UK is currently working on an update to its Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016. The changes would require messaging services to disable their security features at the request of the authorities. This is intended to “protect the public from criminals, child sex abusers and terrorists”. Apple, on the other hand, believes that the new laws could jeopardize data security and privacy. Now the Americans are threatening to shut down iMessage and FaceTime in the UK if the revised law comes into force.
In addition, WhatsApp and Signal have already firmly rejected a clause in the Online Security Act that essentially requires providers to build a backdoor into their end-to-end encryption. Messages would no longer be encrypted, which is why Signal has also already threatened to leave the UK.
Additionally, the new law would require messaging platforms like iMessage and FaceTime to notify the Home Office of any changes to product safety features before they go live. Non-UK companies must apply the change to their products worldwide. And take immediate action rather than having to navigate through bureaucratic hurdles. Apple stated that these proposals “constitute a serious and direct threat” to people outside the UK.
The Investigatory Powers Act is currently in an eight-week consultation process on the proposed changes. Analysts believe that the big technology companies are unlikely to accept the changes.