New UK legislation might set off ‘default monitoring of all units’

New legislation proposed in the UK could result in normalisation Monitoring personal devices, experts warn.

The concerns stem from a planned update of the Investigative Powers Act (IPA). When the original rules were passed in 2016, critics called them “the most extreme espionage powers ever”. You are now even more intrusive.

Under the new proposals, messaging services would need to clear security features with the government before releasing them. The Home Office could also ask for features to be disabled – without telling the public. Apple has threatened to remove FaceTime and iMessage from the UK if the plans go through.

Another prominent critic is Harry Halpinthe CEO of Nym Technologies, a privacy startup based in Switzerland. According to Halpin, the rules could result in “monitoring happening on all devices by default”.

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Covertly messing around with security features designed to keep users safe is short-sighted and could be exploited by adversaries, whether criminal or political,” he told TNW.

One of Halpin’s main concerns is how it will affect the forthcoming online safety law.

Supposedly an attempt to remove harmful content from the internet, the bill has sparked fears it will mandate end-to-end encryption backdoors. Apple, Signal and WhatsApp have all refused to comply with the request.

Combined with the IPA, the legislation could make enforcement “politically motivated,” Halpin said.

“The thing about backdoors in communications technology is that if you open them, you open them to anyone smart enough to exploit them,” he warned.

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