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Apple announces formal opposition to UK surveillance bill

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Apple is speaking out against the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill, the new web surveillance proposal that privacy groups have dubbed the "Snooper's Charter." Today was the deadline for written statements to be submitted to the committee considering the bill, and Apple CEO Tim Cook took the opportunity to submit a detailed objection to various aspects of the new law. Cook had first signalled his opposition to the bill in November, saying, "If you halt or weaken encryption, the people that you hurt are not the folks that want to do bad things. It’s the good people. The other people know where to go."

This new statement provides a more formal and detailed objection to the bill, specifically addressing the bill's stance on encryption. "Apple is deeply committed to protecting public safety and shares the government’s determination to combat terrorism and other violent crimes," the document reads. "Strong encryption is vital to protecting innocent people from malicious actors."

"Strong encryption is vital to protecting innocent people from malicious actors."

Apple also raises issues with international jurisdiction and law enforcement hacking, referred to in the document as "equipment interference." "We believe the UK is the first national government to attempt to provide a legislative basis for equipment interference," the document reads. "The bill as it stands seems to threaten to extend responsibility for hacking from government to the private sector."

The committee on the Investigatory Powers Bill is expected to report back on the bill in February having considered the full range of responses, including Apple's.