Concerns have been raised about the implications of the new laws on communications apps such as WhatsApp and iMessage

Apple boss critical of new UK cyber security bill

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, has said that any attempts to weaken data security to provide a digital ‘back door’ for spies would also benefit criminals.

He said efforts to bypass encryption technology could have ‘very dire consequences’ for consumers by making their data less secure.

The Investigatory Powers Bill, which was published last week, requires communications firms to help British spies hack into the smartphones and computers of criminal suspects.

Domestic providers will also be obliged to assist intelligence agencies when they are given warrants to carry out equipment interference.

The proposed new laws could impose obligations on telecommunications providers requiring them to remove ‘electronic protection’ applied to ‘communications or data’.

Some fear that this will hit services offering ‘end-to-end encryption’ such as WhatsApp and Apple's iMessage, despite Home Secretary Theresa May's assurances that the legislation ‘will not ban encryption or do anything to undermine the security of people's data’.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Cook said: "To protect people who use any products, you have to encrypt. You can just look around and see all the data breaches that are going on.

"These things are becoming more frequent. They can not only result in privacy breaches but also security issues. We believe very strongly in end-to-end encryption and no back doors."

"Any back door is a back door for everyone. Everybody wants to crack down on terrorists. Everybody wants to be secure. The question is how. Opening a back door can have very dire consequences."

Cook added that he believed the government would alter its stance given the sizable public backlash against the proposals.

Widespread concerns about the implications of the new Bill have led the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to ask the public to back it, arguing that it is a necessary step to prevent safe spaces where ‘terrorists, criminals, [and] child abductors’ can communicate.

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