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In the UK, a new law could make Apple’s total encryption a thing of the past


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r3tribut10n

r3tribut10n

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One of Apple’s biggest marketing bullet points of recent years has been security, especially towards its mobile products running iOS. But in the United Kingdom, some big changes could make Apple change its tune.

According to a report published recently by The Telegraph, the Investigatory Powers Bill could force Apple to stop encrypting its devices so well that even Apple can’t get into them. This new law is being introduced on Wednesday, November 4, and while it has plenty of opposition in the UK, and has grilled over its privacy issues and government reach, it is still being baked by the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron.

The law, if passed, would mean that Apple could no longer completely lockdown/encrypt a phone or tablet, effectively locking it down even from its own resources to access the content therein protected by a passcode or Touch ID. Government officials want to have access to the information that’s present on those devices (this includes newer handsets from Google as well, running Android), and if this law goes into place it would mean that while Apple could still offer encryption for its devices, it would need to have a key to access that content without the user, bypassing that encryption with its own tools.

This way, if a warrant is served, then Apple, or any other company, has to unlock the device and gain access to the content on it.

Of course, it’s worth noting that this law is in the United Kingdom and Apple is based in the United States. So, while the United Kingdom’s government can’t force Apple to comply to the new law, it could ban the sales of iPhones or other Apple products because it does not abide by the law of the land. A government’s laws recently ran aground with Apple’s News app, where in China the Cupertino-based company is shutting down the app altogether.

It will be interesting to see what happens next, especially if the law does become final and Apple is forced to make a decision as far as its devices go in the region.