Apple Threatens To Remove FaceTime And iMessage From The UK

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

21 Jul 2023

Apple have threatened to remove their FaceTime and iMessage features from the UK over fresh concerns about the UK’s surveillance policy.

The seismic declaration comes after the UK government’s planned update to the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016, which gives the Home Office the power to seek access to encrypted content via a technology capability notice (TCN).

The Home Office consultation proposes a new law “mandating” operators to notify the home secretary of changes to a service that could have a “negative impact on investigatory powers”.

The proposed alterations as Apple put it would “make the Home Office the de facto global arbiter of what level of data security and encryption are permissible.”

The tech giant outlined it’s concerns submitting a nine-page-long document condemning many of the changes, notably a requirement for non-U.K.-based companies to comply with changes that would affect their product globally – such as providing a backdoor to E2EE.

The government claim the changes are necessary because “technological changes risk having a negative effect on the capabilities of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies”.

In recent months Meta-owned WhatsApp, Signal Messenger and Wikipedia have all issued similar warnings in relation to components of the U.K.’s digital policy they view as harmful to their users’ interests.