Future of Apple’s FaceTime and iMessage at stake in the UK

In an effort to defend its commitment to user privacy and data security, Apple has threatened to yank its communication services, including FaceTime and iMessage, from the United Kingdom if proposed amendments to the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) are implemented.

The proposed changes would grant the British Home Office more extensive control to demand tech companies to compromise user security and privacy, prompting the tech giant to take a firm stance against these intrusive measures.

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The Investigatory Powers Act, which came into effect in 2016, allows the British Home Office to compel technology companies to disable critical security features like end-to-end encryption, all without public disclosure. Moreover, the IPA permits the storage of internet browsing records and authorizes bulk collection of personal data within the UK. The lack of transparency surrounding these demands raises concerns about the number of requests issued and complied with, as well as the potential misuse of user data.

The UK government initiated an eight-week consultation process to consider updates to the IPA. During this period, Apple submitted a comprehensive nine-page document, condemning many of the proposed amendments that pose a significant threat to user privacy and data security.


Apple is against the rule that would force it to inform the Home Office about any changes to their product’s security features before they launch them. This could potentially allow the government to access sensitive information without proper oversight or user consent. Moreover, Apple disagrees with the requirement for non-UK companies to follow changes that would affect their products worldwide, which could lead to serious impacts on user privacy around the world.

Furthermore, the proposal to disable or block security features without a review or appeals process is a major point of contention for Apple. This move could lead to the immediate compromise of user data and privacy without any safeguards in place.

Apple says that some of the requested changes to their features would need a software update, which cannot be done secretly. The company strongly believes that it can’t risk the security of its products for all users globally just to meet the demands of one country. Instead, they want to maintain a consistent level of protection for everyone using their products.

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Apple has made its position clear regarding the proposed changes. The company will not give in to laws that weaken the security and privacy of its users. To uphold its principles, Apple has warned that it might take away important services like FaceTime and iMessage from the UK if the changes are implemented as intended.

Apple is not the only one standing up for user privacy. Other tech companies like WhatsApp and Signal have also expressed their concerns about the proposed changes. The UK’s Online Safety Bill wants companies to use technology to scan encrypted messaging apps for illegal material, like Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), but these companies are against it. Signal has even threatened to stop offering its services in the UK if this requirement becomes mandatory.

(via BBC)


About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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