Apple Joins Opposition Against Message Scanning in Online Safety Bill

Apple has voiced its criticism against provisions in the UK’s Online Safety Bill that could potentially mandate encrypted messaging apps like iMessage and WhatsApp to scan messages for child abuse material.

Online Safety Bill

According to BBC News, 80 organizations and tech experts have already written to Technology Minister Chloe Smith, urging a reconsideration of these powers.

Law enforcement agencies, the government, and prominent child protection charities argue that encrypted messaging hampers their ability to detect and address instances of child sexual abuse material.

However, Apple released a statement stating, “End-to-end encryption is a crucial capability that protects the privacy of journalists, human rights activists, and diplomats.”

“It also assists everyday individuals in defending themselves against surveillance, identity theft, fraud, and data breaches. The Online Safety Bill poses a significant threat to this protection and could expose UK citizens to greater risks.”

Apple is now urging the government to amend the bill to preserve robust end-to-end encryption for the benefit of all.

IMessage Logo

The government has previously stated that “tech companies have a moral obligation to ensure that they are not turning a blind eye to the unprecedented levels of child sexual abuse on their platforms.”

Additionally, Home Office ministers have been highly critical of Facebook’s implementation of encryption in its messaging services.

The Online Safety Bill, currently under review in Parliament, includes powers that could allow the communications regulator Ofcom to direct platforms to adopt accredited technology for scanning message content.

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