Apple says it will pull Messages and FaceTime if UK forces back-door access to its encryption

The UK government is eager to pass the Online Safety Bill, which would require messaging services to provide backdoors into end-to-end encrypted messages, reports 9to5Mac. It's the same tired excuse: a government claiming the necessity of detecting illegal content such as child-abuse material to justify intrusions into privacy.

Apple, along with other messaging services like WhatsApp and Signal, have publicly voiced opposition to the proposed legislation. Apple has submitted a detailed nine-page rebuttal to the bill, voicing its firm opposition to any mandates involving the insertion of encryption backdoors, premature disclosure of security updates, or the disabling of security features before an appeal is heard.

Standing firm on its commitment to user security worldwide, Apple has given the UK government a stark ultimatum: it would rather pull its services like iMessage and FaceTime from the UK market than implement changes that compromise security for all its users.

From the BBC:

Cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward, from Surrey University, said technology companies were unlikely to accept the proposals.

"There is a degree of arrogance and ignorance from the government if they believe some of the larger tech companies will comply with the new requirements without a major fight," he added.

I read about this story on Hacker News, and here are some of the most interesting comments:

  • b59831: "Privacy is given away for political flag waving."
  • Loquebantur: "For a democracy to function, people need to be able to have free and candid discussions… "Classic" ways of public communication, like townhalls, pubs, marketplaces or whatnot, cannot fill that role any longer."
  • lynx23: "To me, there is one big argument for privacy: You never know what your government will change into in the next few years… Since that experience, I basically expect anything from the government, which makes the argument for being able to encrypt communication even stronger for me."
  • sbarre: "What is acceptable (even legal) today may not be tomorrow, or in X years… If we allow all our private conversations and messages to be permanently archived… who is to say that wouldn't be used against us in the future when laws, or even social standards, have drastically changed?"