Tim Cook to U.K.: Your Privacy Snooping Bill is Bad News

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is speaking out against the U.K.'s Investigatory Powers Bill that would require tech companies to give the government access to personal encrypted data such as text chats. If the bill becomes law, he said, spies and criminals would have their own back door into our private conversations and information.

Apple formally opposes U.K.’s proposed encryption back door billApple formally opposes U.K.’s proposed encryption back door bill

Mr. Cook criticized the bill saying it would have a far worse impact on the average computer and smartphone user than it would on terrorists and other criminals. He said,

We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat... In this rapidly evolving cyber-threat environment, companies should remain free to implement strong encryption to protect customers.

He added that forcing tech companies to add back doors so the British government could access encrypted data would "immobilise substantial portions of the tech sector and spark serious international conflicts."

The Investigatory Powers Bill would force companies to give the government a way to decrypt secure communications such as text and video chats. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing for the bill to become law saying it will prevent "terrorists, criminals, and child abductors" from being able to communicate without detection.

House of Commons Home Secretary Theresa May disagrees with Mr. Cook and other critics of the bill. She said it wouldn't have a negative impact on privacy and that it "will not ban encryption or do anything to undermine the security of people's data."

That'll be a difficult feat to pull off considering any back door through encryption is available to all and not just the government. Mr. Cook tried to make that point clear saying, "Any back door is a back door for everyone."

The U.K. bill hasn't become law yet, and it's clear there's some serious opposition to it from tech and communication companies, as well as end users who are facing a real threat to their privacy and online security.

Apple filed a formal opposition to the bill where it summed up the problem it terms that should be simple enough for the non-tech crowd to understand: A key left under the doormat would not just be there for the good guys. The bad guys would find it too.

[Thanks to The Mirror for the heads up]

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Bills like this are a bad idea regardless of how well intentioned law makers may be. Once a door into our encrypted data is there, anyone can access it, including the people the government says it's protecting us from.

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And for sure, Theresa May knows “a lot more” than Tim Cook does on these topics…


This from the BBC -


Unfortunately, all it takes is one.
We might beat the bill in the UK, maybe in the US and Canada, but somewhere, someone will push this legislation through. Once that happens ALL of the governments will gain access, either through voluntary sharing of the keys, or through their own hacking programs. This will then be followed very shortly by all the bad guys. China, Russia, India, those are the places I worry more about. There’s not nearly the checks and balances on Government and they’re too big a market for Apple or any other manufacturer to just walk away from.

Lee Dronick

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