India threatens iPhone ban if Apple doesn’t accept regulator’s anti-spam app

Adam Westlake - Jul 22, 2018
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India threatens iPhone ban if Apple doesn’t accept regulator’s anti-spam app

The last few years have seen Apple expanding into India with the iPhone, but now the company is facing a serious problem if it doesn’t cater to the demands of the country’s telecom regulator. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has put new rules in place in an effort to protect mobile users’ privacy and block spam calls and messages. Part of this policy involves making an app available to every subscriber, but Apple refuses to allow it on the App Store, ironically, due to privacy concerns.

The regulator requires that all carriers in India make TRAI’s “Do Not Disturb” app available for users to download and install on their device. The app then gives users the ability to report unsolicited calls and messages. Apple has not allowed it on their App Store, however, due to the fact that the app requires access to call history and message logs in order to send reports to the agency.

While Apple has been butting heads with TRAI for over a year now, the regulator has moved forward with the policy, giving all carriers six months to make sure the app can be installed on every device they offer. Any phones that can’t install the app after that period will be cut off from the carrier’s network. As for Android, the app is already available via Google’s Play Store.

“Every Access Provider shall ensure, within six months’ time, that all smart phone devices registered on its network support the permissions required for the functioning of such Apps as prescribed in the regulations 6(2)(e) and regulations 23(2)(d).

Provided that where such devices do not permit functioning of such Apps as prescribed in regulations 6(2)(e) and regulations 23(2)(d), Access Providers shall, on the order or direction of the Authority, derecognize such devices from their telecom networks.”

Almost a year ago it was reported that Apple would work with TRAI to develop its own version of the regulator’s anti-spam app, but there’s been no update on the effort since then, so it’s anyone’s guess if the app can be finished within six months or it’s been abandoned altogether. The upcoming iOS 12 update also includes new features for reporting calls and texts as spam, but it’s not clear if that will compatible with TRAI’s own system or if they’ll be able to access that data.

SOURCE India Today


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