EU carriers want Apple's Private Relay blocked

Posted:
in iOS
Four European carriers have written to the European Commission claiming that Apple's Private Relay in iOS 15 undermines "digital sovereignty," and that it should be stopped.




Apple's Private Relay, currently still in beta, is a VPN-like service for iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey, which shields users from having their precise location data revealed. It has already been revealed that Apple is not implementing the feature in all countries, and now European carriers are asking for local exclusion too.

A letter to the European Commission, sent in August 2021 and now seen by The Telegraph, four carriers have raised their objections. T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone, and Telefonica, jointly say that Apple's service "will have significant consequences in terms of undermining European digital sovereignty."

"Furthermore, private relay will impair others to innovate and compete in downstream digital markets," says the letter, "and may negatively impact operators' ability to efficiently manage telecommunication networks."

Apple could potentially be prevented from implementing Private Relay if the company is classified as a "digital gatekeeper" under the EU's Digital Markets Act. However, that act, already much delayed, has yet to be approved by European governments.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,002member
    I don’t see how the same complaint couldn’t apply to any VPN.  As long as it’s opt-in and is clear about what it is doing then I don’t see how the carriers have a leg to stand on. 
    edredlongpathfred1muthuk_vanalingamdewmeuraharaAnilu_777elijahgbaconstangStrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 18
    crowley said:
    I don’t see how the same complaint couldn’t apply to any VPN.  As long as it’s opt-in and is clear about what it is doing then I don’t see how the carriers have a leg to stand on. 
    Agree! What is the difference between already existing VPN services and Apple Private Relay?
    edredlongpathdarkvaderdewmeuraharaAnilu_777StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    As someone who lives in  a European country (but not one that is a member of the E.U.) I am getting sick of the foot stamping and demands that Apple constantly has to adjust how it does business here… I love being a citizen of the applesphere but I wish Apple would show more guts and stand up to the ridiculous demands that the E.U. Is regularly pulling out of the hat! I can fully understand why so many folks in European Union countries are becoming disheartened by the shenanigans of the E.U. mandarins, they are demanding too many petty changes in the way companies like Apple conduct their business in member states. I don’t always agree with everything Apple does or says but the E.U. mandarins need to take a chill pill and concentrate on the serious matters that have a negative impact on the citizens of European Union member states… I love being the owner of iPhone 13 Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 7 45mm Cellular, and AirPods Pro!
    edited January 10 rotateleftbyteBart Yjas99ionicleGabydewmeJanNLAnilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,002member
    As someone who lives in  a European country (but not one that is a member of the E.U.) I am getting sick of the foot stamping and demands that Apple constantly has to adjust how it does business here… I love being a citizen of the applesphere but I wish Apple would show more guts and stand up to the ridiculous demands that the E.U. Is regularly pulling out of the hat! I can fully understand why so many folks in European Union countries are becoming disheartened by the shenanigans of the E.U. mandarins, they are demanding too many petty changes in the way companies like Apple conduct their business in member states. I don’t always agree with everything Apple does or says but the E.U. mandarins need to take a chill pill and concentrate on the serious matters that have a negative impact on the citizens of European Union member states… I love being the owner of iPhone 13 Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 7 45mm Cellular, and AirPods Pro!
    The EU isn't demanding anything here, they've just received a complaint from the carriers.
    darkvaderdewmeqwerty52uraharaFileMakerFellerStrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 18
    crowley said:

    The EU isn't demanding anything here, they've just received a complaint from the carriers.
    The EU isn't demanding anything here YET!

    Every demand has to start somewhere. 
    I see this as the carriers snooping on your internet activity is threatened by this. As they sell that data, they see a loss of revenue and want it banned. If that fails, they'll try increasing prices or throttling or something else.
    The game of cat and mouse continues.

    Bart Yjas99Anilu_777baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    If the EU take this matter up, they are Muppets, with the hands of telecoms up their backside.  Since when has digital sovereignty been the ability to profit from the sale of user data? Quite frankly, any company doing that should be barred from the practice, and also barred from raising prices to compensate for the los of revenue.  
    GabyJanNLbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    The carriers are just afraid they cannot control your traffic anymore. What these people do is really underhanded, from dns highjacking to throttling based on service to promote their own alternatives. If you are connected with a VPN, none of this works anymore...
    darkvaderstompyAnilu_777baconstangStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 258member

    Agree! What is the difference between already existing VPN services and Apple Private Relay?
    Difference is Private Relay only applies to traffic from the Safari browser.  A VPN would apply to the entire device.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 598member
    dcgoo said:

    Agree! What is the difference between already existing VPN services and Apple Private Relay?
    Difference is Private Relay only applies to traffic from the Safari browser.  A VPN would apply to the entire device.
    This is not accurate. Private Relay covers all DNS requests by default, and all HTTP requests made by URLSession and a few other APIs. Safari uses one of the covered APIs, so its HTTP requests are sent over Private Relay if it is enabled. All browsers on iOS are basically Safari skins, so they also use Private Relay if enabled.

    Part of the problem is people have been conflating "VPN" and "proxy" for over a decade. The overwhelming majority of "VPN" services are actually acting as proxies. They just happen to use VPN technologies for the client-to-proxy leg. Private Relay is also a proxy service, and it's valid to compare it to others.
    applguyFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    I see this as the carriers snooping on your internet activity is threatened by this. As they sell that data, they see a loss of revenue and want it banned. If that fails, they'll try increasing prices or throttling or something else.
    I would tend to agree with this comment. I am based in the UK currently and my ISP is currently Vodafone. They require a user identifiable log in to access their broadband and it’s become abundantly clear over the last 6 months that they really do not like me running VPNs at all.

    My employers laptop VPNs to the office - speed of the connection is capped (but not by my office or my router; I run a VPN network and I also have a few devices that will “relay” too, and I also select my own DNS servers at the connection level. All of these so called “enterprise level features” (as Vodafone support call them) result in speed / connectivity issues even on a “business line”. But use a device without any VPN / relay and the full bandwidth is available. So I’m 100% sure it’s Vodafone’s network and they will throttle any traffic that they cannot analyse and then sell the profile of to a third party.

    Once my contract is up I’m moving to an ISP that doesn’t associate my connection with a username and password for access.
    stompyAnilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    While that's a nice attempt at hiding their objective (selling visitation data) with the commission's favourite kind of language, the commission isn't f'kn stupid for this transparent attempt at trying to block the privacy feature.

    It's an opt-in VPN, and it's sufficiently localised to not interfere with local content bans.


    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    "How is the user our product and how can we commercialise their privacy so others can manipulate them into buying things they neither need nor want  if we can't see, find or identify them accurately? Whaaaaaa, whaaaaa, less profit, whaaaa!"
    Anilu_777baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    T-Mobile is attempting to do this. This is a clear violation of the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018 (California Net Neutrality). It may also violate Federal FFC rules, currently being revised in support of Net Neutrality.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,648member
    If carriers ban all VPNs they will greatly reduce the value of their networks to businesses.

    if carriers selectively ban VPNs, then they’ve got some explaining to do.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    The difference here is presumably scale. The sheer scale of Apple's product base means any new service rollout basically instantly creates (or crushes) a market or niche, in this case millions of users could potentially go "dark" after an iOS update. 
    What I understand from their argument is if you feel the need for protection there are pretty good tools out there and you're free to use them, but it's unreasonable to make it the (almost) default option for anyone as this could quickly lead to having rule of law undermined by bad actors (yes I know it sounds like the FBI San Bernardino argument, because it kind of is really).

    ISPs have a legal obligation to record specific data and hand it over to law enforcement if requested to do so. Privacy is all fun and games until shit hits the fan, and you're not able to investigate basic crimes because everyone is able to fly under the radar by the flick of a setting.. all because libertarian ideas are overly represented in tech. I'd argue the whole privacy argument out of California isn't doing much in the way of freedom of speech or protecting human rights in many places around the world, and not even that good at protecting people from super precise and intrusive ad targeting (because most people want and accept it anyway).
    williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Bel.Air said:
    The difference here is presumably scale. The sheer scale of Apple's product base means any new service rollout basically instantly creates (or crushes) a market or niche, in this case millions of users could potentially go "dark" after an iOS update. 
    What I understand from their argument is if you feel the need for protection there are pretty good tools out there and you're free to use them, but it's unreasonable to make it the (almost) default option for anyone as this could quickly lead to having rule of law undermined by bad actors (yes I know it sounds like the FBI San Bernardino argument, because it kind of is really).

    ISPs have a legal obligation to record specific data and hand it over to law enforcement if requested to do so. Privacy is all fun and games until shit hits the fan, and you're not able to investigate basic crimes because everyone is able to fly under the radar by the flick of a setting.. all because libertarian ideas are overly represented in tech. I'd argue the whole privacy argument out of California isn't doing much in the way of freedom of speech or protecting human rights in many places around the world, and not even that good at protecting people from super precise and intrusive ad targeting (because most people want and accept it anyway).
    I get it, Apple shouldn't implement new features because terrorism. Right, Chicken Little, nice fear mongering there, rendering innovation and technological progress moot.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18
    Bel.Air said:
    The difference here is presumably scale. The sheer scale of Apple's product base means any new service rollout basically instantly creates (or crushes) a market or niche, in this case millions of users could potentially go "dark" after an iOS update. 
    What I understand from their argument is if you feel the need for protection there are pretty good tools out there and you're free to use them, but it's unreasonable to make it the (almost) default option for anyone as this could quickly lead to having rule of law undermined by bad actors (yes I know it sounds like the FBI San Bernardino argument, because it kind of is really).

    ISPs have a legal obligation to record specific data and hand it over to law enforcement if requested to do so. Privacy is all fun and games until shit hits the fan, and you're not able to investigate basic crimes because everyone is able to fly under the radar by the flick of a setting.. all because libertarian ideas are overly represented in tech. I'd argue the whole privacy argument out of California isn't doing much in the way of freedom of speech or protecting human rights in many places around the world, and not even that good at protecting people from super precise and intrusive ad targeting (because most people want and accept it anyway).
    Blathering nonsense. Privacy isn’t trendy, it’s the default state. There is no threat of “basic crimes” running rampant by disallowing websites and advertising networks from knowing your location. Get effing real.
    williamlondonbadmonkwatto_cobra
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