Why Apple threatened to pull iMessage and FaceTime out of UK


iMessage and FaceTime
iPhone users in the UK might want to talk to the government if they’d like to keep using iMessage and FaceTime.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The U.K. government has proposed an update to the Investigatory Powers Act that Apple and other tech companies strongly oppose because it they argue it would substantially weaken the security of their messaging applications.

The updated act would allow the government to require security features in the apps be disabled immediately and without informing users.

Apple reportedly warned that it’ll disable iMessage and FaceTime in the UK before it’ll comply with the law.

Apple opposes update to UK’s Investigatory Powers Act

iMessage and FaceTime encrypt messages automatically, making it nigh impossible for hackers to spy on the private conversations of iPhone, Mac and iPad users. And that same encryption prevents government investigators from reading the messages, too. Hence the proposed update to the Investigatory Powers Act.

Apple is opposed to a number of changes to the IPA. According to the BBC, that opposition includes the requirement to install a “backdoor” in its apps just for the U.K. that would reduce the security of the app all around the world. The Mac-maker also doesn’t want to get approval from the UK Home Office of security changes before they are implemented.

The U.K. government is taking comments now on the revised IPA.


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