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Apple to retain iMessage and FaceTime on U.K. iPhone devices as U.K. government yields

Back in July, there were concerns that iMessage and FaceTime could be removed from iPhones in the U.K. due to the government’s proposed Online Safety Bill. The bill aimed to give the Home Office the power to disable safety features found in messaging platforms. However, Apple objected to the bill as it would weaken the end-to-end encryption used on its messaging apps.

Fortunately, the U.K. government has decided to remove the requirement for messaging apps to scan for illegal content, including images of child abuse, from the Online Safety Bill. This means that Apple does not have to remove iMessage and FaceTime from U.K. iPhone units.

The government stated that it will only ask encrypted messaging apps to scan for illegal and harmful content when it becomes technically feasible to do so. This decision comes after tech firms threatened to withdraw their services from the U.K., causing concern among consumers who rely on these apps. Popular messaging app WhatsApp also threatened to pull its services out of the U.K. if the bill passed.

The U.K. government clarified that it will only direct companies to use or develop technology to identify and remove illegal child sexual abuse content as a last resort and with stringent privacy safeguards in place.

This update provides relief for iPhone users in the U.K. who can continue to enjoy the secure messaging features offered by iMessage and FaceTime without any disruptions.

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