Apple is so perturbed by a United Kingdom surveillance bill that its threatening to flat-out remove iMessage and FaceTime in the U.K. instead of complying with the proposed legislation.
The U.K. government is looking to update the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act, the law that governs how security agencies can interfere with privacy to obtain investigatory information. BBC News reported that Apple has said it would remove some services — such as uber-popular communication features like iMessage and FaceTime — if the proposal becomes law, rather than weaken the security of their offerings.
Apple has said
In a submission to the government, The Guardian reported, Apple wrote that the bill would “make the Home Office the de facto global arbiter of what level of data security and encryption are permissible.” The Home Office is the
The promise to cut FaceTime and iMessage is a big threat, setting up the possibility of a major battle between the government and the tech giant. Apple is sending a clear message that it is unwilling to stop end-to-end encryption at the request of a government.
The Home Office told the BBC the legislation was designed to “protect the public from criminals, child sex abusers and terrorists” but also added, “we keep all legislation under review to ensure it is as strong as it can be and this consultation is part of that process – no decisions have yet been made.”
If Apple follows through with their threat, it’ll almost certainly anger U.K. iPhone users. Imagine having an iPhone without Facetime or iMessage. It’s like not having an iPhone at all.
The proposed legislation is still under an eight-week consultation period, so nothing is official yet. Other tech companies, such as the encrypted messaging app Signal, have also threatened to walk should these news rules be approved.
So if you live in the U.K. you can still FaceTime your friends, at least for the time being.