India thinks it knows more than Apple or Google about smartphone security

Posted:
in iOS
India wants new security rules forcing smartphone producers like Apple to allow governmental pre-screening of operating system updates, such as for iOS, as well as enabling the removal of pre-installed apps.

Removable apps in iOS exist
Removable apps in iOS exist


India's IT ministry considers software a security weak point that needs to be checked over spying and abuse concerns, a senior government official claims. Under the fear of being spied on by China and other governments, new rules are being planned to try and curb any potential issues.

"Preinstalled apps can be a weak security point and we want to ensure no foreign nations, including China, are exploiting it," the unnamed official said to Reuters. "It's a matter of national security."

So far, the initiative hasn't officially been raised in public by the Indian government.

The report was informed of the rule discussions via two unnamed sources, as well as being provided access to a document about the changes. The document mentions a confidential February 8 meeting with smartphone vendors, with Apple accompanied by representatives of Xiaomi, Samsung, and Vivo.

"Majority of smartphones used in India are having pre-installed Apps/Bloatware which poses serious privacy/information security issues," the document reads.

There is also a consideration that the government could introduce mandatory screening of major operating system updates, before they get issued to user devices.

Apple has allowed a large number of preinstalled apps to be removed from iOS, bringing the total to 30 in iOS 16, though the new rules could force Apple into allowing any remaining apps to be removable too.

However, one industry executive pointed out to the report that some preinstalled apps are crucial to the user experience, such as the camera or the Settings app, and that the government must make a distinction on what should be removable.

If put into effect, the government has declared that smartphone producers will have one year to comply.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,269member
    You do realize that India is the home to the majority of scammers. The only preinstalled apps Apple installs are Apple apps, not the bloatware and garbage android phones come with. I could easily see India forcing backdoor software onto every phone. Governments are the ones you have to watch out for when talking about apps with weak security, it's not Apple. This is just another power grab by another country who can't design a product anyone actually wants to buy.
    teejay2012mike1iOS_Guy80magman1979dewmedanoxlolliverStrangeDaysFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    India is posturing now that Apple has firmed plans to expand manufacturing in India rather than China. I would say they are not to be trusted. With any security. With any agreement. With anything.
    rob53iOS_Guy80magman1979danoxFileMakerFellerwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 16
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 1,032member
    Easy: India government officials can sign up to be at least beta testers. Let them find security holes by doing the work.
    iOS_Guy80FileMakerFellerwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 16
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,128member
    I read the article and see it as a sensible response to the bloatware that manufacturers and Cell Carriers put on Android devices.

    Nothing to do with Apple directly. Best to make the rules generic so they can't be accused of singling anyone out.
    iOS_Guy80muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonlolliverradarthekatFileMakerFellerwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 16
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,299member
    India??? The country hosting the second-largest congregation of scammers on the planet outside of China, wants to talk about SECURITY?!?!?!

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!
    danoxauxiowatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 16
    mknelson said:
    I read the article and see it as a sensible response to the bloatware that manufacturers and Cell Carriers put on Android devices.

    Nothing to do with Apple directly. Best to make the rules generic so they can't be accused of singling anyone out.
    This seems to be the only sensible post in this thread. Other posters in this thread seem to be clueless. They are not aware of the amount of bloatware (Apps that cannot be uninstalled, or even cannot be force stopped and would run in background forever) that is pre-loaded in Android smartphones from Chinese OEMs (various BBK, Xiaomi brand phones) and the actual risk posed to the users of those devices.

    Other posters in this thread - Please note that I am not a fan of the current Indian government and their politics/policies. But please try to understand the subject before posting about it.
    edited March 2023 dewmeradarthekatjony0
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Dooofus said:
    All jokes aside, being able to completely remove those of Apple's apps I don't want or need would be a big plus.
    Pre-installed apps is a non-issue as far as iOS is concerned. If you get a chance to play around with a brand new Android smartphone from any Chinese OEM (sold in India particularly, not sure if this is allowed by EU), then you would understand the seriousness of this problem in Android phones sold in India. And the worst part is - those apps cannot be uninstalled or even force stopped. They will continue to run in the background forever and do as they please.
    edited March 2023 jony0
  • Reply 8 of 16
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,098member
    mknelson said:
    I read the article and see it as a sensible response to the bloatware that manufacturers and Cell Carriers put on Android devices.

    Nothing to do with Apple directly. Best to make the rules generic so they can't be accused of singling anyone out.
    This seems to be the only sensible post in this thread. Other posters in this thread seem to be clueless. They are not aware of the amount of bloatware (Apps that cannot be uninstalled, or even cannot be force stopped and would run in background forever) that is pre-loaded in Android smartphones from Chinese OEMs (various BBK, Xiaomi brand phones) and the actual risk posed to the users of those devices.

    Other posters in this thread - Please note that I am not a fan of the current Indian government and their politics/policies. But please try to understand the subject before posting about it.

    Apple India won’t be going anywhere, any iPhone, so it will be sold within the Indian market.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    If you are a multi-national corporation you should know you’re going run into political and cultural roadblocks. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. When Apple complies with some censorship issue in a non-democratic country activists here scream and howl. When Apple decides to apply some rules to its platform other activists scream and howl about freedom of speech and the cancel culture. You simply can’t win.
    radarthekatwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 10 of 16
    danox said:
    mknelson said:
    I read the article and see it as a sensible response to the bloatware that manufacturers and Cell Carriers put on Android devices.

    Nothing to do with Apple directly. Best to make the rules generic so they can't be accused of singling anyone out.
    This seems to be the only sensible post in this thread. Other posters in this thread seem to be clueless. They are not aware of the amount of bloatware (Apps that cannot be uninstalled, or even cannot be force stopped and would run in background forever) that is pre-loaded in Android smartphones from Chinese OEMs (various BBK, Xiaomi brand phones) and the actual risk posed to the users of those devices.

    Other posters in this thread - Please note that I am not a fan of the current Indian government and their politics/policies. But please try to understand the subject before posting about it.

    Apple India won’t be going anywhere, any iPhone, so it will be sold within the Indian market.
    Do you still think that this is about Apple? If yes, please read post #4 above. And no, I don't think you are correct about the assumption that iphones assembled in India will be sold only within the Indian market. iPhones assembled in India will be exported for other markets for sure. Apple assembles far more percentage (about 5% and it will continue to increase) of their overall iPhone production in India than what they are selling in India (about 1% and it won't increase in anytime soon, definitely not in proportion to the % of iPhones assembled in India).
  • Reply 11 of 16
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,110member
    I read India’s response as a thinly veiled swipe at Andrroid.  It is the most-used mobile OS in India and I can certainly see problems there. 
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 12 of 16
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,920member
    Don't go blasting India. Apple is good company in having open conversation and India is no stupid to ignore it. In fact, because of too many scammers, India is learning to care lot and protect about the financial security of Indian phone users. In fact, they try to educate large uneducated people on how to protect banking and similar financial information, security and not blindly trust to share financial information to others in so called most trusting each other Indian culture and Society to avoid scamming to get hurt.

    Android is mess but for Apple, it can set the example of how iPhone/IOS can be most trusted platform long as you follow Apple's guidelines and App Store.
    edited March 2023 radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    I doubt this was written for Apple devices. Apple, Google, and Samsung will probably get some sort of carve out for first-party software. This was probably written for cheap Chinese phones.
    edited March 2023 radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 16
    ph382ph382 Posts: 43member
    There is also a consideration that the government could introduce mandatory screening of major operating system updates, before they get issued to user devices.

    Hundreds (thousands?) of people create the updates. Tens of thousands review the beta versions. Millions of lines of code. I don't understand how any government can review such updates and pass judgement on them. Will this delay updates only in India, or all across the world?

    I want the programmers I'm paying to improve software, not to explain things to political science majors.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 16
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,904member
    Apple bowed the knee to China. Mistake. 

    Nip it in the bud here, Tim. 
    watto_cobra
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