Apple threatens to kill iMessage & FaceTime in UK

Apple will shut off iMessage, Facetime in UK if new law passes (

Apple says no FaceTime and iMessage in UK if proposals made law – BBC News - YouTube

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I think that they’re making the right choice here (even though it would affect me) unfortunately it’ll push people onto other services like Whatsapp


That’s understandable. Most people already use WhatsApp.

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Not sure if this is an empty threat from Meta, but…

Neither Signal nor Meta charge for the use of their apps so they really lose nothing by leaving. Google left Spain for 8 years over a law that required them to pay for news snippets. If the UK really wants to force Apple they will probably need to follow China’s playbook.

I disagree with the online bill. It’s a step further to big brother. I’m all for government having powers where there is clear evidence, but not generally snooping into everyone’s private data. The article above said:

Signed by over 80 civil society organizations and academics, the group believes “The UK could become the first liberal democracy to require the routine scanning of people’s private chat messages, including chats that are secured by end-to-end encryption” if the bill becomes law.

Routine scanning of everyone’s personal messaging is a massive invasion of privacy.

Having said that I’m finding facetime to deteriorate year upon year. Nearly every call is a problem. Today it took me five minutes to try to connect that I’ve started looking for an alternative. I also don’t like imessage taking over the sms telecom system. It should be a separate app.


That’s why the US government pays other people for our information.


On the working assumption that, were the UK to introduce a ban on E2E encryption, Apple, Meta etc will continue to offer it everywhere else, what’s to stop me VPN’ing into a US server and setting up a new AppleID? Indeed, if Apple wanted to poke the current rather stupid and unpopular UK government in the eye, what’s to stop them providing a service, touted through a third country (Ireland?) akin to “hide my email”?

Governments, ISPs, and even websites can tell you are connecting through a VPN. So if Apple wanted they could just deny your connection.

And the intelligence services of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have been working together for decades so they would probably frown on Apple trying to bypass a UK law.

Besides Australia passed a law in 2018 that allows government agencies to force a business to hand over user info and data even if it is encrypted. As far as I know AU has never used the law but many think if/when they do force a big company to say decrypt a smart phone every other country will jump on the bandwagon and demand the same.

Five Eyes alliance

I find these conflicts quite exciting.

As we progress, governments want more control and with good intentions, eliminating or at least impacting illegal activities. Apple on the other hand, has made a USP of privacy (among other things), something everyone values, even government officials.

So now it’s time to be creative. I’m sure we humble ciitzens will be scruitinised just as I am sure officials and the wealthy will be. But the officials and wealthy will have “reasons” and legal teams to, at a minimum, drag out investigations to their literal death.

It won’t be an even playing field, never has been. This is a hamfisted way of dealing with very serious problems. Easier for the government, if the Bill passes. PITA for the rest of us. (I realise if you do nothing illegal it shouldn’t be an issue but these things tend to become “guilty and then prove innocence” once you are caught up in it. So for those people, I feel for them!)

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I find it interesting. To me it’s like a movie that you figure out the ending in the first 30 minutes. You can still enjoy the car chase but you know the hero isn’t going to survive.

The data brokers know just about everything. The End

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It will be interesting to see how this plays out with GDPR which requires encryption for sensitive information to be sent digitally. Most council email has an encryption requirement in the UK.

This would probably also impact cloud services as people may choose to keep their photos on their devices and transfer via cable or home wifi.

I simply cannot see how you can ban encryption. How on earth can you use any website securely without E2EE? What are banks and payment sites going to do or is this limited to certain digital areas?

Not sure anyone agrees with it, government aren’t doing it because the public asked :roll_eyes:

What amuses me though is how many scandals have we had in the last 3 years that were exposed via our MPs What’s App messages. Seems like out of all the user groups, they’re probably the ones who should be most in favour of secure messaging services :grimacing:

I had an interesting thought about all this though. If we no longer have iMessages or What’s App in the UK, would our mobile networks actually cope if we all started text messaging? I assume a lot of our “text” traffic is via internet nowadays? Does that still happen if we don’t have the apps? (I have no idea how phone messages actually work.)

I suppose there’s no reason why networks would not be able to cope with a significant increase in standard text messaging as it does not use that much network resources (unless everyone starts messaging everyone else like e.g. for holidays and new year’s wishes which has been known to bring the networks down back in the day), but what is terribly oudated is the MMS service which is technically stuck at being limited to ca. 600 KB for maximum message size and has not been updated for years, so pictures and videos would be an issue (not to mention the pricing which is not competitive any more, and never has been, in fact).

That begs the question; so why are they offering the service at all? Are they gaining anything by being there?

Also, I think westerners generally overestimate the size of some of these markets in terms of population/users. For example, Europe’s largest city (London) would be China’s 9th largest city. Have Meta and Apple taken a similar stance in China? If not; why?

I’m not saying you don’t have a problem, but my family use FaceTime a lot and never have a problem. It’s strange you’re having so many.

Is it the same on Wifi and Mobile networks?

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That would be against the law if they advertised or targeted UK citizens.

The legislation that Apple is reacting to is a wrecking ball to crack a nut solution. The UK government wants to track a small number of miscreants by making encryption unavailable to the innocent majority. It is typical Tory knee-jerk reactionism to a problem. All part of their ever expanding setup of a totalitarian police state. :no_mouth:


GDPR doesn’t require specific technical requirements, rather is requires “Technical and Organisational Measures” Encryption is never mentioned

Of course it would normally be frowned upon for any online service not to encrypt in transit or at rest. The proposed law doesn’t prohibit encryption in transit, but it would require the ability to scan such traffic either on device or on server.

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This is mainly on my mac’s; iMac and mbp. When I open facetime I usually have to press the call button 3 times before it actually calls. I have to shutdown facetime in between calls or it simply won’t connect another call.

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