Apple on the attack against British snooping bill. Silicon Valley expected to follow

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Silicon Valley is expected to launch an attack on the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill, following reports that Apple has submitted evidence that it claims puts at risk the “personal data of millions of law-abiding citizens".

The bill intends to give police and security services access to the records of every UK citizen’s internet use without the need for judicial authorisation.

In its submission to the parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft bill, Apple said yesterday: “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.”

It also argued that UK provisions could require companies to adopt weaker standards of encryption that will result in “the personal data of millions of law-abiding citizens [being] less secure,” according to the Financial Times.

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, sources told the paper.

On Monday, the House of Lords' Draft Investigatory Powers Bill Committee heard evidence from a cyber security experts and charities.

Rachel Logan, law and Human Rights programme director at Amnesty International, said the body was "very disappointed" in the bill's provisions for bulk data collection. She added that the notion of interception of legal confidentiality created a "chilling effect".

Erka Koivunen, Cyber Security Advisor at F-Secure Corporation, said: "This is the bill you would get if you were to ask the intelligence agencies what they want as a Christmas present", adding that we "should be aware that the powers laid out in the bill could be misused and lead other nation states to mimic those powers".

Eric King, expert in signals intelligence, surveillance technologies and intelligence agency practices, said the bill is effectively attempting to put in writing what the government is already doing.

He said: "The government in my mind should be making operational cases for every single one of these powers." ®

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