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Tech industry issues warning as UK moves forward with controversial security law

A law updating the powers of Britain’s security services was passed by the House of Lords on Wednesday following just two days of examination, and is now set to be scrutinized by the House of Commons.

Among the Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill’s most controversial aspects is the ability it would provide for officials in Westminster to force tech companies on a global basis to inform the government before making any product changes that could negatively impact a company’s ability to comply with a warrant.

The British government has argued that the bill simply maintains existing powers in the dynamic environment of modern technology developments.

The technology industry argues this description of the bill “does not reflect the true significance of the changes that are being introduced,” as Recorded Future News previously reported.

TechUK — the trade association representing more than 1,000 businesses in Britain’s technology sector, including Apple and Meta — warns that the “changes would in effect grant a de facto power to [the British government to] indefinitely veto companies from making changes to their products and services offered in the UK.”

Following the passage of the bill through the House of Lords, the technology industry restated its concerns regarding how it would impact them and their users.

“We are of the view that the proposed changes will exacerbate conflicts of law, hinder technological advancements aimed at improving consumer privacy, integrity and security, and, if emulated by other countries, could negatively impact UK businesses investing overseas,” the trade association wrote.

The Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill was formally introduced to the House of Commons on Wednesday, a stage known as its first reading. A second reading, which is a debate on the main principles of the bill, has not yet been scheduled.

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Alexander Martin

Alexander Martin

is the UK Editor for Recorded Future News. He was previously a technology reporter for Sky News and is also a fellow at the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative.