UK Prime Minister Cameron backs law to make Apple’s iPhone encryption illegal

“Internet and social media companies will be banned from putting customer communications beyond their own reach under new laws to be unveiled on Wednesday,” Tom Whitehead reports for The Telegraph. “Companies such as Apple, Google and others will no longer be able to offer encryption so advanced that even they cannot decipher it when asked to, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.”

MacDailyNews Take: To be clear: As usual, Apple did this first and, as usual, Google chimed in “me too” in order to not look bad, even though it’ll take them years to roll it out, if they ever do, while virtually every Apple iOS user already has it.

“Measures in the Investigatory Powers Bill will place in law a requirement on tech firms and service providers to be able to provide unencrypted communications to the police or spy agencies if requested through a warrant,” Whitehead reports. “It came as David Cameron, the Prime Minister, pleaded with the public and MPs to back his raft of new surveillance measures.”

MacDailyNews Take: Backdoors = insecurity. Wherever backdoors exist, it’s not only “authorities” exploiting them legally. Only a blooming idiot would believe in a “secure backdoor” accessible only by properly authorized “authorities.” Therefore, David Cameron is either a blooming idiot or a liar.

“On its website, Apple promotes the fact that it has ‘no way to decrypt iMessage and FaceTime data when it’s in transit between devices.’ It adds: ‘So unlike other companies’ messaging services, Apple doesn’t scan your communications, and we wouldn’t be able to comply with a wiretap order even if we wanted to,'” Whitehead reports. “The Investigatory Powers Bill is also expected to maintain the current responsibility for signing off requests to snoop with the Home Secretary but with extra judicial oversight – a move that is likely to anger civil liberty campaigners and some Tory backbenchers. It will also require internet companies to retain the web browsing history of their customers for up to a year.”

Whitehead reports, “The bill is expected to face a tough route through parliament but Mr Cameron urged critics to back the measures.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s not enough that every Brit alive has a government camera shoved up their ass 24/7/365?

The UK has already slipped far down the slope that they ought to rename the place Airstrip One, but in case you cling to some wisp of hope that the Big Brother genie can be shoved back into his bottle, you should vigorously oppose this snoopers’ charter, the “Investigatory Powers Bill.”

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Apple refused to give iMessages to the U.S. government – September 8, 2015
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
U.S. Senate blocks measures to extend so-called Patriot Act; NSA’s bulk collection of phone records in jeopardy – May 23, 2015
Apple, others urge Obama to reject any proposal for smartphone backdoors – May 19, 2015
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk collection of phone data illegal – May 7, 2015
In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed – March 26, 2015
Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world – March 19, 2015
Obama criticizes China’s demands for U.S. tech firms to hand over encryption keys, install backdoors – March 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
Apple’s Tim Cook warns of ‘dire consequences’ of sacrificing privacy for security – February 13, 2015
DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying – November 19, 2014
Apple’s iPhone encryption is a godsend, even if government snoops and cops hate it – October 8, 2014
Short-timer U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder blasts Apple for protecting users’ privacy against government overreach – September 30, 2014
FBI blasts Apple for protective users’ privacy by locking government, police out of iPhones and iPads – September 25, 2014
Apple thinks different about privacy – September 23, 2014
Me-too Google: Uh, okay, we’ll do default encryption like Apple, too (it’ll just take several years to roll out) – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Would you trade privacy for national security? Most Americans wouldn’t – August 6, 2014
Apple begins encrypting iCloud email sent between providers – July 15, 2014
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013
Apple’s iMessage encryption trips up U.S. feds’ surveillance – April 4, 2013


  1. “It will also require internet companies to retain the web browsing history of their customers for up to a year.”

    Wow. That right there is the bigger issue. Total observation just incase we need it.

    1. So, identify those businesses or governments, and individuals within those businesses or governments, who are working on products you or your business, or your government are interested in. Now hack into their isp and access 12 months of their browser history. Even an idiot would be able to determine what anyone is working on. Someone with knowledge in the field might very well follow a persons logic through their browser history, figure out what combinations and modifications are being explored, and acquire valuable intellectual property. Our governments, with their concern over accessing criminal and terrorist data, will drive criminals and terrorists underground while enabling cyber espionage.

  2. David Cameron is a failed PR man with no understanding of anything that he talks about.

    With an iPhone, the security is inherent, it can’t be removed. What’s his proposal, that Apple should make a special UK model that he can snoop at? What about somebody visiting the UK and bringing their iPhone? How about texts between somebody in the UK and somebody in another country?

    The guy is an utter embarrassment. His proposal will get nowhere as it simply isn’t possible to do what he says.

    1. To MDN’s comment: “David Cameron is either a blooming idiot or a liar.” Can’t he be both, plus a sleezebag, asshole, worthless hunk of pond-scum. Wait, our Congressman in the US might feel that infringes on their trademarks.

      1. David Cameron is neocon maniac that strives for totalitarian power of the government.

        He also supports heads-chopping Wahhabi/Salafist terrorist state Saudi Arabia, and, via them, Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra). He also supports ISIS via Turkey, which buys oil from them, as well as helps them to fight against Kurds in the north of Syria.

        1. Wow. You need more tinfoil under your hat. A “neocon maniac that strives for totalitarian power . . . “??? You’re crazy.

          You forget that in the western world, only the US fears its own government more than the foreign states and terrorists who actually mean to do you harm.

          MDN’s “take” is born out of massive ignorance too. Those CC cameras have saved countless lives and caught untold numbers of criminals and thugs. I just wish our courts would put the criminals away for as long as you do.

          Finally, MDN’s Ben Franklin quote is so out of context that its meaning is totally distorted. MDN is just spreading FUD.

          1. No Sense, Nope, its called being proactive. We know that our politicians (just like yours) will lie cheat and steal. In your country you just have a civil unrest and chop off the heads of anyone you don’t like.

            Here, our politicians and religious leaders enact laws to protect themselves so we can’t cut off their heads. so sad. /s

    2. This particular genie is out of the bottle, but governments are rarely restrained by being told that their demands are impossible. One is reminded of the apocryphal stories of various state legislatures trying to show their commitment to biblical inerrancy by defining Pi as 3.0 (see 1 Kings 7:23). One hopes that corporate interests whose security would be more harmed by the cure than the underlying disease can prevail.

      A system where data was accessible to the police if, and only if, they could make a showing of probable cause and public necessity to an impartial magistrate would be wonderful, but as the Church Lady said, “If only it were true!” Since it isn’t, we are going to have to steel ourselves to living in a world where criminals (including state actors and terrorists) have a lot more power to conceal their crimes than they have ever historically had. I just hope that the public doesn’t blame the police and prosecutors for the consequences of policy decisions made well above their pay grade.

  3. David Cameron is another instrument for the groups that want us to live in an Orwellian society.
    “Do you think this is a democracy? ” Mr. Gekko in “Wall Street”

  4. The reality (and simple defense) is that pedantically, no encryption is totally “unbreakable” – – it just becomes so prohibitively impractical to allocate the resources to do it that one doesn’t bother trying.

    As such, the legal defense is: “Sir, what we use *is* breakable, if you allocate sufficient resources to do so, and to make it trivially easy for your mere convenience would also make it equally so for nefarious and illegal purposes.”

    1. @ -hh: Re-read the story. He isn’t asking for encryption that the gov can break, he is demanding encryption that the device maker can break when asked to by the gov. It’s not the gov decryption resources he is demanding to be committed, it’s the manufacturers’.

    2. To be fair, good encryption would require allocation of resources that would not come even after all of world’s PC become quantum supercomputers, and even then the number of such machines needed could be only built in like thousands of years, and even then decrypting would still require thousands of years.

      In other words, it is de-facto impossible to break, even though, theoretically, it is possible.

    1. If I ran Apple, yes. I’d withdraw direct iPhone sales to the U.K. Everyone loses here but a strong unambiguous message may need to be sent to governments around the world if this noxious proposal comes to pass.

    1. You can already be jailed for refusing to provide your password (no 5th amendment equivalent to at least provide legal lip service to prevent self-incrimination). I’m sure they wouldn’t even blink at the seizing iPhones from people.

    1. He is so dumb that he was too scared to participate in the UK political debate before the elections in May. His people kept interfering with the format to such an extent that there were lots of minor party leaders on the platform and he only had to be under the spotlight for a few minutes. What the public wanted was him debating head to head with the main opposition leader or possibly the leaders of the two biggest opposition parties for an hour or so, but we were denied that because he knew that he wasn’t up to the task.

      For a long time the broadcasters threatened to ’empty chair’ him and let the other leaders get on with the debate, but in the end they bottled out ( almost certainly due to threats from his party ).

      When he was in opposition, he used to insist that a leader’s debate live on TV was a very important element during an election.

  5. Apple should refuse and pull IOS from the UK rendering all products using it useless, then see how long it takes for the reaction. Cameron will wet his pants from the angry response from the millions of users; Cabinet Ministers, to Members of Parliament and the rest of us. He’s an idiot who’s never had a proper job and this is from a Conservative Party voter.

    1. “He’s an idiot who’s never had a proper job …”

      Actually he did have a proper job. For a short time was a PR man for the Carlton group ( media company ). I knew him in that capacity long before he went into politics and people who know me have heard me tell tales of how useless he was in that job and were astonished to realise that the same person went on to become Prime Minister.

  6. FSCK-OFF Cameron! You have zero say in the situation. We The People of the UK’s former colony make the decisions around here. READ the US Constitution if you’re so concerned about iPhone encryption.

    Hint: Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution.

    Now run along and STFU about encryption rights in the USA.

    1. Derek,

      You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

      Aside from that, Cameron isn’t trying to have any more than zero say over here. He is proposing—foolishly and vainly, I agree—that it be illegal in the UK to sell a device for use in the UK unless the seller can certify that it can and will decrypt the data on the device in response to a proper UK judicial order. Americans can do anything they like… outside the UK. He has never mentioned encryption rights _in_ the USA.

      Since the UK isn’t an American colony, the US Constitution does not bind Mr. Cameron. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments are inapplicable to acts of Her Britannic Majesty’s Government. Even if the proposal were blatantly unconstitutional here, it could be constitutionally peachy over there, while still being spectacularly useless and stupid. For most purposes, the British Constitution means whatever a significant majority of the House of Commons says it means. If Parliament passes it, it will be constitutional (barring a conflict with the EU treaties).

      Finally, I’m not so sure that US legislation that was drafted as narrowly as Cameron proposes—that sellers must guarantee that the government will have access to data on all legally sold secure devices IF AND ONLY IF the government presents the seller with a valid court order that complies with the applicable constitutional and statutory safeguards—would be found unconstitutional by the current US Supreme Court. The seller’s rights to free speech, privacy, and non-incrimination are not being impaired in the slightest. The users probably don’t have standing to complain in court until a search actually occurs, and then the question would be the legality of the individual search. The Court might see this on much the same level as the requirement that all legally sold secure devices must comply with relevant FCC regulations and electrical codes.

      The practical issue that sellers would find it impossible to comply without opening their products up to every public and private hacker on earth might not be legally determinative. One can hope.

      1. Flies and honey: I’m not trying to be diplomatic. I’m deliberately being a bastard to bastards. It’s another approach that fits into a persona I use around here.

        I do agree that the UK, from one point of view, doesn’t care what the USA does. However, Apple is a USA company so I expect Apple to act as a USA company. Having Apple default to Fourth Amendment citizen rights and handing that to the rest of the world is EXACTLY the way it should be. Tough luck on China, North Korea, and now the UK if they don’t like it.

        Regarding legal complaints against government surveillance: I don’t know of any case where the complaining person was actually able to prove they’d been surveilled. However, I know of several cases in the USA where criminals were being prosecuted and the court has thrown out all data collected without a warrant, allowing in some cases the supposed criminal to walk.

        The world trend, of course, is to use FUD, paranoia, propaganda, blahblahblah to control and manipulate people. The course is directly into classic totalitarianism. The more I and my heroes (EFF, American Civil Liberties Union) can be a PITA to the would be maniacal power forces, the better. It’s one of my niches and I like it that way. It fits right into my concept that diversity rules. I and my approach are one element of the whole system of stopping totalitarianism, bullying, corporatocracy, Neo-Feudalism ad nauseam at every turn. It’s incredibly sad that such fighting back is required these days. But on the other hand, this is classic human behavior since humans are profoundly insecure as a species. This translates into dire attempts at power and an ultimate sense of personal security. Or at least that is one element of the entire psychopathic, no conscience mess so typical throughout human history. I’m a student of it and enjoy playing around amidst it all.

  7. The 1% intend to retain their control.

    In this context, one does wonder whether 9/11 was really an entirely foreign enterprise.

    A student of history would point out that when a small clique seizes the greatest part of the community’s wealth, it always ends in tears.

    If Putin is right and the US creates IS to pursue its middle eastern territorial ambitions, then perhaps they also created Al Quaida. The White House was run by the arms industry during the second Bush era and we know now that the Iraq war was a confection – designed to generate huge profits for Cheney’s pals, and perhaps Cheney himself.

    1. Yes and no. It was actually aliens from the planet Kronos that have been living here for years. They have taken over control of the government and are getting us Humans ready to be collected to their planet where they will “serve mankind” on various dinner plates. 🙂

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