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Apple objects to UK surveillance bill

Apple is opposing a recent UK bill that would increase the government’s investigatory powers into electronic devices.

The iPhone maker submitted its complaint to the bill committee on Monday, calling for major changes before it is passed in order to preserve the privacy and security of personal data.

“We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat,” Apple said. “In this rapidly evolving cyber-threat environment, companies should remain free to implement strong encryption to protect customers.”

Apple points out that the bill, if passed, would empower the UK government to demand that the company change the way its iMessage service works, implementing back door access to such services. This would weaken Apple’s encryption technology and potentially open the way for agencies of varying motivations to eavesdrop on private communications.

“The creation of backdoors and intercept capabilities would weaken the protections built into Apple products and endanger all our customers,” said Apple. “A key left under the doormat would not just be there for the good guys. The bad guys would find it too.”

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As The Guardian points out, tech firms such as Apple believe that the proposed bill unreasonably expands the government’s investigatory powers beyond that of the existing Ripa legislation, which focuses on traditional internet service providers.

Still another portion of the bill appears to enable the government to hack into computers worldwide. Apple fears that the bill would effectively require Apple to help hack its own devices.

“It would place businesses like Apple – whose relationship with customers is in part built on a sense of trust about how data will be handled – in a very difficult position,” it says.

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