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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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23,133


Major EU mobile operators are reportedly looking for Apple's iCloud Private Relay service to be outlawed because it allegedly infringes upon EU "digital sovereignty," according to a report from The Telegraph.

icloud-private-relay-ios-15.jpg

iCloud Private Relay was a feature announced with iOS 15 that encrypts data so that neither Apple nor a third-party can see users' browsing activity in Safari. With iCloud Private Rely enabled, a user's internet requests are sent through two separate internet relays, with the first relay being operated by Apple.

The second relay, operated by a third-party company, means no-one, including Apple, can see what website a user visits. More information on how iCloud Private Relay works can be found on Apple's website.

In August 2021, less than two months after ‌iCloud‌ Private Relay was announced, Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, and T-Mobile sent a joint letter to the European Commission regarding their concerns over the service. As per the report:
Mobile operators have become locked in a power struggle with Apple after urging regulators to outlaw the iPhone maker's encryption technology over claims it will undermine "digital sovereignty." Some of Europe's biggest mobile operators want the European Commission to stop Apple using "private relay" on the grounds that it will also prevent them from managing their networks.
In the letter seen by The Telegraph, the operators said that while iCloud Private Relay "purports to enhance users' privacy when connecting to and browsing the internet by encrypting and redirecting traffic," it also cuts off "networks and servers from accessing vital network data and metadata, including those operators in charge of the connectivity."

The letter claimed that iCloud Private Relay will have "significant consequences in terms of undermining European digital sovereignty."

In the letter, the operators also called upon the European Commission to label Apple as a "digital gatekeeper" under the EU Digital Markets Act. According to the report, such a label "has the potential to stop services such as Private Relay."

Outside the EU, some network operators in the UK are also concerned. In its own letter, TalkTalk claimed that iCloud Private Relay would "make it more difficult to block dangerous content." In a statement to The Telegraph, TalkTalk said it is "assessing how to respond to this shift and maintain our commitments to keeping our customers safe."

iCloud Private Relay is currently available in beta form for users on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, and it's still unclear when Apple plans to bring it out of beta. According to The Telegraph, the European Commission has not responded to the letter from the EU's largest mobile operators. We've reached out to Apple to comment on the concerns raised in the letter.

Article Link: EU Mobile Operators Want Apple's iCloud Private Relay Service to Be Outlawed Over Concerns of 'Digital Sovereignty'
 
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Saturnine

macrumors 65816
Oct 23, 2005
1,449
2,225
Manchester, UK
I could ramble for days about a person’s right to privacy and how wrong I think potential regulation would be.

The biggest issue I see here is that outlawing Private Relay could be viewed as a precedent against encryption in general. If the network operators are unhappy about having no visibility about the types or destinations of traffic traversing their networks, how is that different from a user opting to use a VPN service? A user opting to use iCloud Private Relay is no different to using, for example, NordVPN. The effects are the same even if the underlying technologies differ.

This is not about network operators “wanting to keep their customers safe.” This is all about money and control.
 

miniyou64

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2008
735
2,675
Without being open source or having some sort of auditability or blockchain implementation, Apple’s stances on privacy are not very meaningful. You’re still centralizing your trust. And the average user has no idea what is possible with software….
 

FlyingDutch

macrumors 65816
Aug 21, 2019
1,231
1,093
Eindhoven (NL)
I could ramble for days about a person’s right to privacy and how wrong I think potential regulation would be.

The biggest issue I see here is that outlawing Private Relay could be viewed as a precedent against encryption in general. If the network operators are unhappy about having no visibility about the types or destinations of traffic traversing their networks, how is that different from a user opting to use a VPN service? A user opting to use iCloud Private Relay is no different to using, for example, NordVPN. The effects are the same even if the underlying technologies differ.

This is not about network operators “wanting to keep their customers safe.” This is all about money and control.
Do you know what the difference is ? VPN is used just by a minority, while iDevices are used by millions and millions of people. carriers operators are just afraid of losing control of their data.
 

steve09090

macrumors 65816
Aug 12, 2008
1,045
2,029
Without being open source or having some sort of auditability or blockchain implementation, Apple’s stances on privacy are not very meaningful. You’re still centralizing your trust. And the average user has no idea what is possible with software….
Do you think blockchain, tracing all internet actions are going to make data safer? How? Apples stance is one of privacy. The method may not be up to what you would hope, but their stance is consistent.

How would someone be able to track data under Apples Private Relay?
 

827538

Cancelled
Jul 3, 2013
2,322
2,833
Without being open source or having some sort of auditability or blockchain implementation, Apple’s stances on privacy are not very meaningful. You’re still centralizing your trust. And the average user has no idea what is possible with software….
Did you even read the article?

Also blockchain? Are you serious? You obviously have no idea how blockchain works if you think it relates in anyway to privacy.
 

BulkSlash

macrumors 6502
Aug 20, 2013
267
697
Haven't tried this yet. Can someone explain how it works in detail. Is it for hiding your porn history?
It's basically like a simplified version of Tor. You type Macrumors.com into Safari and iOS will encrypt that request into a package and then wrap that encrypted package inside another one which is sent to Apple. Apple then decrypt the outer package and forward the inner package along to the "third party" (I'm not sure who they are). The third party then decrypts the request and actually performs the fetch of the website data.

Then the same process basically happens in reverse with the data sent back to the user being double encrypted and then decoded when it reaches the user's iOS device. So the third party theoretically can't discern who requested the website, Apple can't see any of it, and the user's privacy is retained.
 

Abazigal

Contributor
Jul 18, 2011
17,342
17,794
Singapore
Without being open source or having some sort of auditability or blockchain implementation, Apple’s stances on privacy are not very meaningful. You’re still centralizing your trust. And the average user has no idea what is possible with software….

And that’s really what Apple sells, and what I am buying these days with their products. Trust.
 

contacos

macrumors 68030
Nov 11, 2020
2,818
11,233
Mexico City living in Berlin
I "guess" this would make "sense" if it would hide the data of each and every app since many providers exclude data from Instagram, WhatsApp and other "Social Ads" from mobile data allowance but Privacy Relay does not even stop them from doing this as it only blocks stuff from Safari .... this is stupid.

Now the real question is, why do these providers want to know what I am doing in Safari???
 

iDento

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2011
854
1,472
iCloud Servers
I could ramble for days about a person’s right to privacy and how wrong I think potential regulation would be.

The biggest issue I see here is that outlawing Private Relay could be viewed as a precedent against encryption in general. If the network operators are unhappy about having no visibility about the types or destinations of traffic traversing their networks, how is that different from a user opting to use a VPN service? A user opting to use iCloud Private Relay is no different to using, for example, NordVPN. The effects are the same even if the underlying technologies differ.

This is not about network operators “wanting to keep their customers safe.” This is all about money and control.
The number of people using VPN is way lower than using a free built-in tool. I might be wrong for sure.
 
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