Apple Faces Potential Legal Threat From Indian Regulator Over Noncompliance With Anti-Spam iPhone App

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Just a few days after Bloomberg revealed Apple's revamped India strategy, including changes that the company hopes will boost its lackluster smartphone market share in the country, a report by Reuters today has pointed out another hurdle for Apple's India plan.

The new report concerns Apple's work with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over the development of an anti-spam iPhone app, which dates back nearly two years. Indian users constantly have to deal with spam phone calls, leading to the government's decision to build its own smartphone app that would let users mark and report spam callers.


Reuters previously reported in March that work on the app was deadlocked as Apple continuously raised concerns over the privacy implications of allowing the app broad access to customers' calls and text logs. Following months of Apple pointing out privacy loopholes in the app -- which has been available on Android in India since 2016 -- TRAI last month threatened Apple by stating that its smartphones could be "derecognized" from the country's networks.

This means that while iPhones would still be available for purchase in India, users would not be able to connect to any supported cellular network and would lose many of the features that they likely purchased the iPhone for. TRAI's derecognition threat was specified in a letter sent to Indian telecom firms over the summer, notifying the firms that TRAI would give them six months notice to derecognize devices from their networks if the phones in question do not support the anti-spam app.

With that ticking clock looming for Apple, the company recently asked for the clause about derecognition to be removed:
"We look forward to working with TRAI to address the issue of unsolicited commercial communications, while simultaneously ensuring that we fully honor our commitment to protect the privacy and security of our users," Apple's head of public policy in India, Kulin Sanghvi, wrote in the letter which was seen by Reuters.
In response to Apple's own letter, TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma said that derecognition could not be "quashed or challenged" by writing a letter, and suggested the disagreement between the two could end up in court:
"The most appropriate way to challenge this is in court," he said.
As of now, no legal action has yet been taken by either side. The drama over the anti-spam app is just one of numerous headaches for Apple in India, in the past few months including ever-increasing taxes on imported smartphones, rising iPhone prices because of such taxes, and user frustration with poor Apple services.

According to people familiar with the company's plans, its new strategy in India includes better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the opening of official Apple retail stores in India, "overhauling" the company's relationship with independent retailers, and improving apps and services "aimed more closely at Indians." The company is said to focus specifically on Apple Maps in the services area with a "revamped" version of the app coming to Indian users by 2020.

Article Link: Apple Faces Potential Legal Threat From Indian Regulator Over Noncompliance With Anti-Spam iPhone App
 

TimmeyCook

Suspended
Jun 20, 2018
460
1,224
Apple, drop India.

Not worth the effort.

The pissing contest with google is just not worth it, because they'll never sell anything there, the average Indian is 2x poorer than the average Chinese and Google and Microsoft love to dump money in that country without any ROI.

People that still want the iPhone are people that will be okay in smuggling them for cheaper than retail.
 

bommai

macrumors 6502a
May 23, 2003
611
243
Melbourne, FL
If Apple did not provide this kind of feature to anyone in the world then they should not give to TRAI either. I get junk calls in the US as well and I just keep blocking them. My blocked number list is in the 100s.
 

Flytrap21

macrumors newbie
Jul 1, 2015
27
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If Apple allows a state owned app to have "broad access to customers' calls and text logs" in India, you can bet your bottom dollar, every other government in the world will demand the same level of access... then every mobile network operator / carrier (ostensibly to comply with local anti-spam regulations)... and so on.

Don't do it Apple. Find a way of complying with anti-spam laws without syphoning my all "call and text logs" to faceless governments all over the world.
 

0976235

Cancelled
Feb 3, 2017
71
46
If Apple did not provide this kind of feature to anyone in the world then they should not give to TRAI either. I get junk calls in the US as well and I just keep blocking them. My blocked number list is in the 100s.
Actually Apple provided more than this kind of feature to Chinese government.

In recent news:

https://telecomtalk.info/apple-writ...-blocking-features-coming-with-ios-12/180056/

Defending the DND app, Sharma today said that it did not ask for access to all call logs, but rather allows the users to share only details of unsolicited calls or messages.

“Unnecessarily, people are given an impression that our app is asking for wholesale permission to access contacts and call logs...,” Sharma said.
 

TimmeyCook

Suspended
Jun 20, 2018
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1 billion people and they are one of the fastest growing economies. I don't think Tim is going to drop India.
Yeah, sure.

Apple should bet instead in Europe, and mainly the Eastern Europe. That's where the people that can actually afford iPhones and use them as smartphones are meant.
 
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konqerror

macrumors 68000
Dec 31, 2013
1,970
3,159
If Apple allows a state owned app to have "broad access to customers' calls and text logs" in India, you can bet your bottom dollar, every other government in the world will demand the same level of access... then every mobile network operator / carrier (ostensibly to comply with local anti-spam regulations)... and so on.
They already do. Through the network side. All calls and texts go through an operator who logs them; we normally call that your phone bill. In the US, the applicable law is CALEA that grants government access.

AT&T's optional spam solution, AT&T Call Protect, is Hiya implemented network side.

Apple's stance makes no sense, and neither does India's.
 
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JPack

macrumors 603
Mar 27, 2017
5,459
8,258
India’s end game is to eavesdrop on every citizen. No other country in the world is requiring a special app installed on every single phone in the name of preventing “spam.”

The country has the lowest household income out of all G20 countries. Apple isn’t making money in the country. It shouldn’t lower its privacy standards when it’s neither making money nor a difference in privacy.
 
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Radon87000

macrumors 604
Nov 29, 2013
7,611
5,930
Apple has already implemented an API in iOS 12 and have relented to the Indian government on this. Clearly Apple knows something you don’t if they are willing to bend to a country with such a pathetic marketshare.

Apple, drop India.

Not worth the effort.

The pissing contest with google is just not worth it, because they'll never sell anything there, the average Indian is 2x poorer than the average Chinese and Google and Microsoft love to dump money in that country without any ROI.

People that still want the iPhone are people that will be okay in smuggling them for cheaper than retail.
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors 604
May 30, 2002
6,887
2,177
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Apple, drop India.

Not worth the effort.

The pissing contest with google is just not worth it, because they'll never sell anything there, the average Indian is 2x poorer than the average Chinese and Google and Microsoft love to dump money in that country without any ROI.

People that still want the iPhone are people that will be okay in smuggling them for cheaper than retail.

For this situation ... this is Apple being obtuse. Any app system that is to help the end user block spam calls will NEED to access call logs for the easiest and fastest route to accomplishing their goal. If Apple themselves cannot keep up with Google in this regard then let the gov fogure it out. It’s their money their resources their citizens. I mean make up your damn mind Apple between China you bend over backwards should be the same for India. Damn tards!
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
No, that’s what Apple says with a $1000 phone.
That's ridiculous! Just because a company sells products or services that are priced for more affluent consumers does NOT in itself mean that they in any way elitist or that they denigrate consumers who can't afford their products or services. Not everyone can or wants to afford a $1000 phone, and there are more affordable phones available to them. No company is obligated, legally or morally, to cater to all socioeconomic levels with its products or services.
 

killhippie

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2016
357
265
UK
Yeah, sure.

Apple should bet instead in Europe, and mainly the Eastern Europe. That's where the people that can actually afford iPhones and use them as smartphones are meant.
What is this thing called “the Eastern Europe” I live in Europe and that’s not what it’s called. Maybe you should look it up on “the Google”
 
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zack793

macrumors newbie
Nov 1, 2016
7
2
Hmm. Government agency asking for broad access to its citizens calls and texts in the guise of anti-spam? What could possibly go wrong?
 

Naraxus

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2016
986
4,807
Is having an iPhone a human right?
Nice dodge. We're not talking human rights but your pompous attitude that somehow people who can't afford iPhones are less than those who can. Your quote was "That's where the people that can actually afford iPhones and use them as smartphones are meant" So somehow people in India are lesser people because they can't afford iPhones as opposed to people in Europe who can?
 

B4U

macrumors 68020
Oct 11, 2012
2,482
2,369
Undisclosed location
I get a crap ton of those stupid robo calls as well. I really wish Siri would answer unknown callers, find out what they want, and then shoot me a text to ask if I want to answer it and take a message when I say no.
But...can Siri understand them to begin with?
 

apolloa

Suspended
Oct 21, 2008
12,318
7,798
Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
Actually Apple provided more than this kind of feature to Chinese government.

In recent news:

https://telecomtalk.info/apple-writ...-blocking-features-coming-with-ios-12/180056/
Exactly, fans rather conveniently forget or show blissfully unaware attitudes to what Apple and the Chinese government have agreed.

I find it utterly laughable Apple thought writing a letter telling a foreign government to change its mind would work! This will go to court and Apple phones will be blocked from use in India till it’s resolved, this is the government of the land, not Samsung in the US.
[doublepost=1533851639][/doublepost]
Yeah, sure.

Apple should bet instead in Europe, and mainly the Eastern Europe. That's where the people that can actually afford iPhones and use them as smartphones are meant.
Please explain what you mean by ‘use them as smartphones are meant’..... for all I know you could be claiming that those in India are thick and stupid and don’t know how to use a smartphone? Which would be racist and derogatory.
So what exactly do you mean?
 
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