mayo 17, 2024

La ley del Reino Unido que podría prohibir las actualizaciones de seguridad de Apple en todo el mundo es una extralimitación sin precedentes

Proposed amendments to the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) which could ban Apple security updates worldwide are an “unprecedented overreach,” says the Cupertino company.

Apple previously described the planned powers as “a serious and direct threat to data security and information privacy” – not just to British citizens, but to all tech users worldwide …

18 years of trying to ban privacy

It was in 2006 that a previous British government first put forward the idea of banning strong encryption, under what what was then known as the Intercept Modernisation Programme.

The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA) actually implemented many of the proposed powers, including granting the government the power to issue orders to tech companies to break encryption by building backdoors into their products. Apple strongly objected to this at the time.

The company later said that it would withdraw iMessage and FaceTime from the UK market rather than drop end-to-end encryption, forcing an embarrassing U-turn by the British government.

UK law could ban Apple security updates worldwide

Apple last year said that even the existing IPA powers sought to effectively turn the UK into a world government.

The IPA purports to apply extraterritorially, permitting the Home Office to assert that it may impose secret requirements on providers located in other countries and that apply to their users globally.

The proposed amendments to the IPA would allow the British government to ban Apple from issuing security updates to iOS if they were being exploited by UK security services.

“Under this proposal, it’s possible that a non-UK company could be forced to undermine the security of all its users, simply because it has a UK user base.”

Indeed, says Apple, the government is claiming that it would have this global power even if a company completely withdrew from the UK. “The Home Office proposes that the extraterritorial scope of the IPA should apply to providers in any country, regardless of whether the provider has any physical presence in the United Kingdom.”

Proposed powers proceeding to the next stage

The proposed amendments have now proceeded to the next stage – which requires something of an explanation for anyone unfamiliar with the UK’s rather archaic law-making process.

First, any proposed new law is put before the House of Commons, an elected body similar to the US House of Representatives. If the Commons votes in favor, it then gets passed to the House of Lords – an unelected body comprising a mix of those who inherited their title and those appointed by the existing or previous governments.

While this is certainly a bizarre and theoretically unjustifiable body, it does have something going for it. Namely, because Lords don’t have to worry about being re-elected, they are free from the need to pander to populism – and therefore frequently give a more considered and thoughtful response which considers long-term impact.

While the Lords cannot ultimately block new legislation – the government can overrule them – they can make the passage of new laws more difficult, and encourage compromise on controversial measures. Many of us, including Apple, hope that this will be the case here.

New powers would be “an unprecedented overreach”

Apple has issued a new statement, objecting to the proposed new powers.

We’re deeply concerned the proposed amendments to the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) now before Parliament place users’ privacy and security at risk.

It’s an unprecedented overreach by the government and, if enacted, the UK could attempt to secretly veto new user protections globally preventing us from ever offering them to customers.

BBC News notes that the iPhone maker is backed by a wide range of civil liberties groups, including Big Brother Watch, Liberty, Open Rights Group, and Privacy International. In a joint briefing, they said that the British government would be putting the entire world’s privacy at risk.

This would be “effectively transforming private companies into arms of the surveillance state and eroding the security of devices and the internet.”

9to5Mac’s Take

We have little to add to what has already been said by both Apple and civil liberties group.

The IPA was already a draconian piece of legislation which placed the desire for government surveillance above the privacy and safety of British citizens, and these planned amendments represent an outrageous attempt to effectively allow the government of a single country to override security updates that protect tech users worldwide.

There is no possible justification for such powers, and we have to hope that Apple can again help force the government to back down.

Photo by RoonZ nl on Unsplash

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