Apple opposes the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill

Apple has (strongly) expressed concerns about the UK's draft Investigatory Powers Bill, a proposed law the looks to overhaul rules governing the way the authorities can access people's communications, reports the BBC.

Among other things the bill:

  • Requires web and phone companies to store records of websites visited by every citizen for 12 months for access by police, security services and other public bodies.
  • Internet and phone companies will be required to maintain “permanent capabilities” to intercept and collect the personal data passing over their networks. They will also be under a wider power to assist the security services and the police in the interests of national security.
  • Enforcement of obligations on overseas web and phone companies, including the US internet giants, in the courts will be limited to interception and targeted communications data requests. Bulk communications data requests, including Internet connection records, will not be enforceable.

In an eight-page submission to a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the bill, Apple says that “A key left under the doormat would not just be there for the good guys. The bad guys would find it too.” The company also argues that:

  • "Some have asserted that, given the expertise of technology companies, they should be able to construct a system that keeps the data of nearly all users secure but still allows the data of very few users to be read covertly when a proper warrant is served. But the Government does not know in advance which individuals will become targets of investigation, so the encryption system necessarily would need to be compromised for everyone."

  • "The bill would attempt to force non-UK companies to take actions that violate the laws of their home countries. This would immobilize substantial portions of the tech sector and spark serious international conflicts. It would also likely be the catalyst for other countries to enact similar laws, paralyzing multinational corporations under the weight of what could be dozens or hundreds of contradictory country-specific laws."