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Apple has warned that it would rather stop offering iMessage and FaceTime services in the U.K. than bowing down to government pressure in response to new proposals that seek to expand digital surveillance powers available to state intelligence agencies.

The development, first reported by BBC News, makes the iPhone maker the latest to join the chorus of voices protesting against forthcoming legislative changes to the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016 in a manner that would effectively render encryption protections ineffective.

Specifically, the Online Safety Bill requires companies to install technology to scan for child sex exploitation and abuse (CSEA) material and terrorism content in encrypted messaging apps and other services. It also mandates that messaging services clear security features with the Home Office before releasing them and take immediate action to disable them if required without informing the public.

While the fact does not explicitly call out for the removal of end-to-end encryption, it would de facto amount to weakening it as the companies offering the services would have to scan all messages to flag and take them down. This has been viewed as a disproportionate step that allows the government to enforce bulk interception and surveillance.

images from Hacker News