Apple's chief executive Tim Cook has denounced the British government's proposals to increase surveillance powers, warning that they would weaken security and could have very "dire consequences".
Cook's comments were made in relation to a key aspect of the draft investigatory powers bill, which would legally force companies to allow the government to bypass encryption and access personal data such as emails.
The Apple boss argued that companies had to be able to encrypt data in order to protect people and warned that halting or weakening encryption would only benefit hackers.Robert Hannigan, director of GCHQ, has also called on the government to strengthen cybre security measures which he says are "insufficient".
Speaking during a visit to the UK, the 55 year-old told the Daily Telegraph that mass data breaches "not only result in privacy breaches but also security issues. We believe very strongly in end-to-end encryption and no back doors".
He added that "we don’t think people want us to read their messages. We don’t feel we have the right to read their emails".
Cook went on to say “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.”
The draft investigatory powers bill, which was unveiled by the home secretary, Theresa May, last week makes explicit in law for the first time the powers for security services and police to hack into and bug computers and phones.
Under the bill, internet and phone companies would be required to keep a record of every UK citizen's internet history for 12 months and would have to hand them over to police and security services upon request, regardless of a warrant.