UK PM makes Apple CEO Tim Cook a global privacy champ

Safe as houses?

apples tim cook becomes global privacy champ

"I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services," Apple CEO, Tim Cook wrote last year. "We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will."

Privacy on parade

Now, it looks like Apple will need to fight to maintain customer privacy, as British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to ban services that encrypt messages so they cannot be intercepted by spies, criminals or anyone other than those in the conversation.

This directly impacts Apple’s iMessage or FaceTime, which offer end-to-end encryption.

"In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which, even in extremis with a signed warrant from the Home Secretary, that we cannot read?" said Cameron. "My answer to that question is no we must not."

Idiocy

Cameron’s fighting talk puts Apple’s Tim Cook in the firing line, transforming the human rights-supporting CEO into a poster child for privacy in a frightened age.

Experts are already warning Britain’s unpopular PM that his proposals are unworkable, saying he is “living in cloud cuckoo land."

Independent computer security expert Graham Cluley told The Guardian: “It’s crazy. Cameron is living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that this is a sensible idea, and no it wouldn’t be possible to implement properly.”

Experts condemn the plans as “idiocy," “ill thought out" and “scary” and warn they undermine consumer security, the tech industry and British business.

Who wins?

The UK isn’t alone. Europe, the NSA and various U.S. security bodies all want the right to snoop. Cameron’s talking about a ban. Things look challenging.

It was not so long ago Edward Snowden revelations sent jitters across the enterprise, as any kind of back door into software undermines security, and no major 21st Century enterprise wants their corporate secrets to be an open book.

Despite the presence of cooler heads, it is unfortunate that increasing political instability means hawks can play on fear to justify their attempt to surveil the planet, “because TERRORISTS."

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