Apple Facing iPhone Security Battle With Indian Government

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    India is seeking discussions with Apple about including state-funded biometric ID technology to authenticate its citizens, according to Bloomberg.

    The government initiative is part of a national biometric identity program called Aadhaar (Hindi for 'foundation'), which already covers fingerprint and iris-scanning authentication across a range of public and private services including banking.


    Apple is expected to resist opening up its hardware and software to the registration, encryption, and security technology, but doing so could see the company excluded from India's thriving smartphone market.

    One consulting group in India is predicting "a battle of ecosystems" between the state and tech companies. Indeed, signs of division already appear to have emerged. Just a few weeks ago, government officials are said to have invited executives from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Google to a meeting to discuss embedding the technology into their devices, but Apple didn't even show up.

    According to Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who runs the Unique Identification Authority of India and convened the meeting, company representatives who did attend listened politely but were noncommittal. However, Pandey says he was unequivocal about the government's position and told the executives to return to headquarters and "work this out so we can have Aadhaar-registered devices".

    Since September 2010, India has collected citizens' biometric and demographic data and issued ID numbers to every man, woman, and child. More than one billion people have signed up to Aadhaar - over four fifths of the population.

    The initiative is designed to catch criminals who defraud the welfare state, but civil liberties groups say the program violates public privacy. Despite opposition, the government is moving ahead with Aadhaar and recently rolled out a digital payments system built on the program, which is part of an effort to make financial services available to millions of people who don't hold a bank account.

    Apple is expected to fight the government's demands following its recent public dispute with the FBI, which wanted to install a backdoor into the company's mobile operating system in order to provide access to data in criminal investigations. Apple insisted any such intrusion would make users' devices less secure and open to hacking. It appears to have won the battle in its own country, at least for now, but given that Apple's stance on Aadhaar could affect its access to a hugely lucrative overseas market, India could be a whole other story.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Apple Facing iPhone Security Battle With Indian Government
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Damn. Tim Cook can be a badass. I bet he's formidable behind closed doors.
  3. 0815 macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2010
    here and there but not over there
    I don't like it if any government is getting involved in tech companies - especially in the context of security.
  4. MrGimper macrumors 603


    Sep 22, 2012
    Andover, UK
    Perhaps Apple should tell India how to run their country in return?
  5. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    Just the cost of doing business.

    If you want to win over the users who care about privacy, then you have to be prepared to give up on the customers who want you to compromise on it.

    Try to win over everyone, and you might just end up losing both sides.
  6. samh004, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

    samh004 macrumors 68020


    Mar 1, 2004
    Many countries have an ID system for citizens. Just look at social security in the US...

    That said, if most (if not all) of the companies invited were also ones that backed Apple against the FBI, I'm not sure why they can't just band together to say that they're not going to be a part of weakening their operating systems. If all the major players say no, the country can choose to go it alone with inferior software to the rest of the world, or make changes to their policies.

    I don't believe any of the technology companies should be dictating terms to other countries too much, but as soon as you start compromising security features to fit countries requirements, you're creating a hole that other countries can hack into. When the data is eventually compromised, it's the customer that feels wronged and the company in trouble, not the country that dictated the terms, strangely!
  7. macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    This is typical governmental mentality of caging their own citizens in ANY way they can. These UID people haven't even told one single reason why they are even in talks about this. Just because it is a biometric enabled cellphone, and these guys happen to be collecting biometric data, they somehow think the two can play ball?

    This is just another way of this government to grab the necks of its citizens anyhow. Being Indian, I am enraged and appalled. Gotta plunge the nation back into darkness, then we will all be secure and the government happy. I am really surprised at the wise-ass who even thought of something like this. Their brainpower works only in such domains as to how to hooch the citizens more and more. Nothing is being done about anything that really matters, and the some relief and respite that is, the government tries to stick its nose in that as well.
  8. duffman9000 macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2003
    Deep in the Depths of CA
    No iPhones for India then. They can keep this initiative and their caste system.
  9. macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    Caste system in India, racism across the world. Same thing, different clothes. So, caste system is a moot point.

    On another note, I for one am totally up for all international businesses giving India a middle-finger due to this. And I am against this only because this "initiative" by the government has no real benefit for the end user, but has every advantage for the government to keep track of citizens and mind you, this is only for taxation purposes, it is not that they will bother if this taxed citizen is able to make two ends meet or is victim to police harassment or anything. All they care about is tax revenue. This is something all political parties never have any argument about.

    I have shame, and embarrassment, being Indian myself, but such actions by governments which have no benefit for citizens are just poor publicity and breed resentment alone.
  10. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    This kind of horrible stuff keeps being tried by lots of different countries all over the world. They always to say it's to defeat criminals or terrorists etc, and it nearly always isn't the real reason.

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and all that. I wish all the best to all Indians being subjected to this nonsense, and hope that Apple can resist any attempts to be involved in it.
  11. iMember, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

    iMember macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2014
    First India banning the Galaxy Note 7 from airports without any proof whatsoever and now this? Doesn't make any sense? Why Samsung would later do this?

    This definitely another attack on Samsung from the Indian government!
  12. tunerX Suspended


    Nov 5, 2009
    Lucky thing the Indian government doesn't have a pesky constitution they have to undermine and chip away at.
  13. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

    Feb 12, 2006
    Just imagine what Obama and US Gov would have to say about this India thing if they weren't trying to take away their own citizen's rights.
  14. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    They said it right there from the Indian gov person. The companies went because it was a gov meeting but weren't interested and basically said no thank you nicely. Apple didn't do the politics of the situation properly. Just attend and ignore the request.
  15. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    Or too busy with the iPhone 7 launch. He probably doesn't need to be there either. Apple would have people for government relations. The CEO has better things to do.
  16. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Well yeah, but TC would have said "don't bother going". I didn't mean it was TC personally who would've went. :)
  17. Cineplex macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2016
    Good, I'm glad Timmy didn't show. Hopefully this means Apple will stop wasting its time over there. It is not worth the aggravation.
  18. 69Mustang macrumors 604


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    Obama is just a placeholder as it relates to a situation like this. Our government has been chipping away at liberties for a while. Democrat or Republican has nothing to do with this.
  19. 2457282 Suspended

    Dec 6, 2012
    I think that some form of identification makes sense. In the USA we have drivers license numbers at the state level and social security numbers at the federal level. This allows for the tracking of individuals for both taxation and benefits. It also allows for immigration control of benefits and employment. If you want to travel outside the country (legally) you also have a passport number. Then there are all the other ways to track an individual through credit card numbers, phone numbers, IP and MAC addresses, etc.

    Generally these seem to be okay or at least a necessary evil for the effect conduct of business and movement of people. What bothers me is when they want to imbed the tracking system in our personal devices. Now they are invading our privacy and that is a line not to be crossed. There are too many other ways to track people for this silly idea of theirs to be needed.
  20. Sajal macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2014
    This might be a high opportunity for Apple to push Apple pay in India and get the support of India Government, by giving away probably just an app which will help iPhones to authenticate to Aadhaar system.

    I believe Tim Cook will have separate meeting away from Google & Samsung and have his own ways.

    And for the beloved friends over here who thinks Tim Cook is just coming to India to waste his time, I hope you understand the Volume of sales which Tim Cook wants to have from India, it's not for charity!
    Though the other option for doubling profits is to double the price of iPhones, whichever way you want.
  21. ErikGrim macrumors 68040


    Jun 20, 2003
    Brisbane, Australia
    Battle between a privacy and personal liberty focused corporation and a totalitarian scheme right out of 1984? I think Apple can afford to back out of this market.
  22. springsup macrumors 65816


    Feb 14, 2013
    I can't believe that Indians, one of the most technologically-literate peoples of the world, support all of these intrusions by the government.

    First it was BBM; the government made RIM use a special server in India so the government could intercept messages.
    Now they're taking peoples' biometric data and assigning them numbers like they are in prison.

    India fought for their independence for a long time against the British, who made the country's borders by jamming lots of peoples together. Most of India's neighbours were once part of India but successfully campaigned for independence. You would expect them to feel very strongly about privacy and the right of individuals to be distrusting of authority and protective of your right to fight that authority peacefully.

    But no. This sounds worse than anything even China does.
  23. Sajal, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

    Sajal macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2014
    Hey! they copied aadhaar no. from US's SSN, only added biometric to it, since you already told Indians are most technologically literate ;)

    It's actually not that bad as it sounds. A probable scenario currently in development :
    eg. One can go to an bank's ATM, use his thumb to withdraw Money. No card or mobile to carry.
  24. macintoshmac, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

    macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    --- Post Merged, Sep 14, 2016 ---
    The relevance of capturing biometrics is actually a hotly contested debate in the parliament of India. There are still some people who don't just buy the garbage dished out at them, but the majority wins most of the time.

    There are serious debates going on about the powers of this unique ID system, and the need to capture biometrics is at the top of it. Talks are going on about curtailing the powers of UID to not need biometrics or to furnish valid reasons for continuing to do so.

    As it happens, the UID team was given a lot of leeway in terms of what data they wanted and the ambitions meant they went all out in capturing everything they possibly could. Now they are sitting on a billion people's iris scans, finger scans, photos, addresses, telephone numbers (if provided), and not to mention birth proofs and what not.

    I personally am okay with this, I am a citizen of India and the government will obviously have a record of me. UID means I know they have a record and cannot say they do not or that records burnt in a fire or something. But, the concerns are different, the concerns are about the government misusing the information they have to twist this around the financial aspect of the citizens. They don't care about the bigwigs, the politicians have pockets of gold, but it is the common man that has to finance it (through systems like tax deduction at source and sales tax and service tax and special taxes and cess of various kinds which the simple humble income tax was supposed to take care of) and yet be at the noose all the time.

    For example, there is an education cess in India, and now there is a (translated) Clean India cess as well. Now, since this was a tax to be collected, nobody refuted it in the parliament and the bill was passed. Nobody questioned that since when did tax money get compartmented and how did the buckets of education and cleanliness came up empty? Tax is tax, and that money is to be used for ALL purposes. You cannot have special taxes over and above the one you pay. Just a way to sugarcoat the effective rate, right? Same way, there are tolls. We pay toll tax for using the road that was effectively created from our own tax money. Ridiculous.

    I do not understand the concept of taxing somebody's income and then making him also pay taxes for using that income (after tax). We pay income tax, and then when we use the balance money to make more money in terms of bank interest, we get taxed again. On everything that we can buy, there is service tax or sales tax. So ultimately, we pay tax on the income and then we pay tax as we use that balance income. This is not in any way a welfare state.
  25. Sajal macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2014
    Well bank interest is an income.. as you said all incomes are taxable, principal is tax free. Whats unjust in it?

    well we are not very fond of paying taxes are we? but I believe it's similar in many other countries including US. States in US imposes taxes like VAT & local taxes too.

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