Apple launches counteroffensive against UK’s proposed new surveillance law

“Apple has launched a counteroffensive against the UK’s proposed new surveillance law saying the measures risk paralysing vast reaches of the technology sector across the globe and even sparking ‘serious international conflicts,'” Murad Ahmed and Sam Jones report for The Financial Times.

“The intervention from the world’s most valuable company comes amid growing anxiety from big US tech groups that the British proposals will set a dangerous precedent, as other countries look to upgrade spying regimes for the digital age,” Ahmed and Jones report. “The bill will give police and security services access to the records of every UK citizen’s internet use without the need for judicial authorisation. However, should agencies want the content of communications, they will need the authority of the home secretary and a new panel of judicial commissioners.”

“Apple on Monday led the Silicon Valley fightback in written evidence to a parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft bill. UK demands for the ability to access to data held in other countries would ‘immobilise substantial portions of the tech sector and spark serious international conflicts,’ the company said. ‘It would also likely be the catalyst for other countries to enact similar laws, paralysing multinational corporations under the weight of what could be dozens or hundreds of contradictory country-specific laws,'” Ahmed and Jones report. “In a rare show of unity, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Microsoft are jointly submitting evidence to the same parliamentary committee, according to people familiar with the matter. These companies plan to make similar criticisms to Apple, the people said.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is a dangerous proposal and Apple is 100% right to be staunchly opposed.

It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority. – Benjamin Franklin

“What happened was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to be governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believe that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. The crises and reforms (real reforms too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. To live in the process is absolutely not to notice it — please try to believe me — unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted.” Believe me this is true. Each act, each occasion is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we did nothing). You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.” — A German professor describing the coming of fascism in They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer

Manhattan DA fires back after Apple CEO Cook defends stance on encryption – December 21, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook opposes government back door to encryption – December 21, 2015
Donald Trump: To stop ISIS recruiting, maybe we should be talking to Bill Gates about ‘closing that Internet up in some way’ – December 21, 2015
Hillary Clinton: We need to put Silicon Valley tech firms to ‘work at disrupting ISIS’ – December 7, 2015
Tim Cook attacks Google, U.S. federal government over right to privacy abuses – June 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
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
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, 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’s iMessage encryption trips up U.S. feds’ surveillance – April 4, 2013


  1. All these ideas of intrusive spying have little or nothing to do with crime and terrorism. Any of these government or spy types who know anything know that the vast majority of the serious stuff is not happening on open phone calls, websites and emails.

    Yes, yes, I know there are moron terrorists using Twitter. But it’s nothing compared to what’s happening on the deep Web.

    1. While I agree that the truly tech savvy criminals will be difficult to stop regardless of what happens in the encryption issue, doesn’t this also mean then that the current full encryption security is enabling the larger group of ‘middle and low-class’ criminals to hide what they’re doing?

  2. and this from the people that gave us the magna carta and everything that flowed therefrom.

    seems much more appropriate to be coming from the likes of the old soviet union or east germany, not the nation that winston churchill rallied and led through the darkest days of ww2.

    as a sort of anglophile and, for the past couple of decades, a reader of british newspapers on the web, i have been watching a very disturbing trend toward absurd levels of political correctness and increasing levels of police and government oversight – very big brotherish.

    time for the dear old queen – one of the very few people in the country who carries the respect and affection of the public – to speak up and set those weak-kneed sniveling politicians straight about citizens rights.

    and by the way, where is bob dole and the other members of our fathers generation who fought against regimes who aspired to these very same levels of intrusive control. they need to speak up too before it is too late.

  3. Our Tory government, much like the right wing reactionaries the world over, seem intent on dismantling the social state and building out the secret state. Neither side of this paranoid logic has truck with civil society, privacy or individual rights.
    I trust Apple with my data. I don’t trust self important jingoistic clueless idiots one byte.

  4. I suspect most would be terrorist use android burner phones. No need to spend $700 and go though all the set up process for an iPhone when you can buy 10 burner phones for the same price.

    1. And the US stores. Why wouldn’t the Chinese government immediately demand their own backdoor? They have their own terrorist problem, therefore they need to protect their own citizens, right?

  5. Benjamin bloody Franklin quoted yet again. Who knows what his views would be today in present circumstances they are so removed from what he was familiar with you might as well quote Shakespeare who had a far better understanding of human nature.

  6. I’m trying to play all this out I my head – how will this all end up 50 years from now. I am usually an optimist. But I have trouble envisioning a happy ending here. My gut and intellect tell me that we need to resist government intrusion every step of the way. But the arguments for some intrusion and control are strong and, one day almost certainly, will be overwhelming.

    It could be 10, 20, 30 years from now. But you know in you gut that some 20 something whack job with an oedipus complex is going to get his hands on a nuclear device and a large city and millions of people are going to pay the ultimate price. The screams for government action will be overwhelming. And then we slide down that slippery slope of massive government intrusion, perhaps never to return.

    There are way too many people out there that lost their humanity out of fear or an inculcated insane hatred for others not like themselves. When someone loses the view that every life is precious – how do we address that? Clean water, food and shelter are a good start. But they aren’t enough. Many see salvation in religion, and it does help a lot of people become well rounded human beings. But religion can be a potent poison of the mind if it is twisted to serve other purposes.

    In the mean time, all we can do is support Apple and the other Silicon Valley companies in their fight. And remember to keep our own humanity front and center in our lives.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.