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UK could secretly block security worldwide, says Apple

UK Houses of Parliament

Apple has attacked what it calls the UK's "unprecedented overreach" in proposing that it have the power of veto over all Big Tech security features across the globe.

The UK's House of Lords is due to debate an update to the country's Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016 on January 30, 2024. In a much earlier form in 2015, the IPA was slammed by Apple for how it then proposed breaking encryption.

According to BBC News, Apple is now attacking the latest update proposals. Apple is against the UK having a veto over security updates, and also over how if the country were to exercise that veto, no Big Tech firm could even say that it has.

"We're deeply concerned the proposed amendments to the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) now before Parliament place users' privacy and security at risk," Apple in a statement seen by BBC News. "It's an unprecedented overreach by the government and, if enacted, the UK could attempt to secretly veto new user protections globally preventing us from ever offering them to customers."

Apple's statement follows that of multiple UK civil liberties groups which jointly protest the update. The groups, including Privacy International and Big Brother Watch, said that the UK's plans were for "effectively transforming private companies into arms of the surveillance state and eroding the security of devices and the internet."

Separately, in September 2023, the UK backed down from a nonsensical law after firms including Apple and WhatsApp said they would cease operating in the UK if the government passed a law requiring the breaking of end-to-end encryption.

The issue of Apple and others not being legally allowed to reveal that a government had vetoed a security update is similar to how the US forbade the company from revealing push notification surveillance.