Head of Indian telecoms regulator says Apple dragging its heels on government 'do not dist...

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in iPhone
Apple is being "anti-consumer" and engaging in "data colonization" by so far refusing to approve an official government "do not disturb" app for the iPhone, according to the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.




"While Google's Android supports our Do-Not-Disturb app, Apple has just been discussing, discussing, and discussing. They have not done anything," R.S. Sharma told the Times of India. The Android app launched in June 2016, but an iPhone equivalent has languished for a year.

The issue appears to be privacy, as the Android app can access SMS and call log details, which are in turn used to share numbers sending unwanted calls and texts with the TRAI. Typically Apple doesn't allow that level of access for third-party apps.

"So basically you [Apple] are violating the right of the user to willingly share his/her own data with the regulator or with any third party of his/her choice," Sharma said. "If a customer wants to share financial transaction data with his/her bank, for getting a loan, why should it not be allowed? This is what we call data colonization."

The chairman called Apple "anti-consumer" for not approving an app meant to prevent harassment.

Talks between Apple and the TRAI are reportedly still ongoing, though it's not clear what progress is being made, if any.

Apple has sometimes found ways to open up iOS functionality without compromising sandboxing. iOS 10 in fact supports call blocking and identification apps, but without allowing the log access and sharing the TRAI has been asking for. Instead it checks against an app's blocking/ID database for inbound calls, and only if that app is specifically enabled in the iOS Settings app's "Call Blocking & Identification" section.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    sounds almost identical to the iOS app - TrueCaller? If its allowed, can't see why this isn't.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    So stick with your bloody Android phone if you REALLY want this level of personal data intrusion. Imbeciles.
    magman1979pscooter63lostkiwiicoco3jbdragonlolliver
  • Reply 3 of 17
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 276member
    I think the difference here is that the government wants more power over the phone than Apple wants to allow. For example, I have used nomorobo to block calls, but Apple doesn't allow it to actually block the calls, it just sends them to voicemail. This makes some sense, because Apple doesn't want some third party app that decides to just block all calls from given numbers. What if the call were actually legitimate and the user never got the call? This is a lot of power to put into the hands of third party developers, some of whom try to break various rules.

    Also, nomorobo can't block all calls. Specifically, I get a LOT of junk calls from number that have my same prefix (not area code). So if my number is (XXX) 333-4567, any call from 333 cannot be blocked (sent to voicemail). I'm not sure why this is, but I would really like to be able to stop those calls.

    As a side note, I also use Google Voice, and I never get annoying calls from the Google Voice number, so it is possible to successfully filter calls. I would love to see Apple do something more about this.
    leavingthebigglostkiwi
  • Reply 4 of 17
    crogerscrogers Posts: 11member
    Anyone else see the irony of Indian government trying to block unwanted calls!
    sergiozlongpathalanhRayz2016leavingthebiggmagman1979GrabAsnookiepscooter63airnerdlostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 17
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 338member
    crogers said:
    Anyone else see the irony of Indian government trying to block unwanted calls!
    "So basically you [Apple] are violating the right of the user to willingly share his/her own data with the regulator or with any third party of his/her choice," Sharma said. (Apple is so bad, I think they are actually evil because they don't care about "good guys" like Sharma who just want to take your info and make a profit.) I hope Apple privacy policy will keep guys like Sharma away from iOS for a long time to come!
    airnerdlostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 17
    crogerscrogers Posts: 11member
    sergioz said:
    crogers said:
    Anyone else see the irony of Indian government trying to block unwanted calls!
    "So basically you [Apple] are violating the right of the user to willingly share his/her own data with the regulator or with any third party of his/her choice," Sharma said. (Apple is so bad, I think they are actually evil because they don't care about "good guys" like Sharma who just want to take your info and make a profit.) I hope Apple privacy policy will keep guys like Sharma away from iOS for a long time to come!
    Apparently not!
    sergioz
  • Reply 7 of 17
    kbeatkbeat Posts: 48member
    Let's be very clear here, despite what they're calling the app, what they're after is actually the opposite. They want Apple to make that information available to third parties. Apple already builds in Do Not Disturb by default. It should be called "Please Disturb Me", that's what they're forcing on Apple.
    magman1979pscooter63lostkiwiSpamSandwichjbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 17
    georgie01georgie01 Posts: 420member
    "So basically you [Apple] are violating the right of the user to willingly share his/her own data with the regulator or with any third party of his/her choice," Sharma said. "If a customer wants to share financial transaction data with his/her bank, for getting a loan, why should it not be allowed? This is what we call data colonization."

    Does he really believe this? I find it hard to believe people would hear this and think 'Sharma is really out to benefit and protect the consumer', and so I wonder what the social environment is in India that this would have any chance at sounding pro consumer. Does everyone just see him as a slimeball or do they really buy it?
  • Reply 9 of 17
    I am not sure why Apple couldn't easily create reporting functionality whereby a user can send numbers of bothersome callers (telemarketers, bittersome debt collectors, stalkers) to a telecoms regulator if they wished to.

    After all, we can do something similar here with the 'Do Not Call' list on our landlines. 

    In other words, Apple should call TRAI's bluff and say "sure, we are letting them report a number to you with one touch."
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 10 of 17
    croprcropr Posts: 1,078member
    Basically the issue is about who can  best defend the interests of the iPhone user.  Apple has always be convinced that only the manufacturer (Apple of course) has the skills an d the power to enforce this on a global scale.   The Indian government assumes that the user should be able to control the phone himself (taking abstraction of the fact that the Indian might be after something else)

    Personally I am convinced that there is not single for profit company that put the end user interest always first.  The fact that Apple has slowed down investing in the new HTML5 standards for Safari like service workers, asm.js, ...  because it could potentially hamper app store revenues, is clearly such a case.  Closing down the VPN apps in the China app store is another example.

    On the other only a limited number of end users who are knowledgeable enough to realize what they are doing.  99% of the population just register for Facebook without reading the small print.  So indeed  Apple has a point, but Apple is a for profit company and not the political leader of the world.  so I tend to agree with the indian government
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Apple should just close up shop and get the heck out of India. That country is totally Android device territory. Google controls everything in India. Why would Apple think they could sell iPhones to consumers who are only interested in owning $50 Android smartphones? What's Apple's smartphone market share in India? Something like 1% or 2% and falling. Apple isn't going to get anything worthwhile out of Indian consumers. They don't care anything about iPhones or any Apple products.

    Now, some dude is going to make demands on Apple for that lousy pittance of market share percentage. Screw that nonsense because it's a thankless task. I don't know what Apple is thinking or is hoping to prove by trying to sell iPhones in India. It's completely useless to try and Apple will only be laughed at by the entire smartphone industry for their pains. Google has to be laughing all the way to bank with 97% market share that can only go up even higher. Apple had already lost the race in India long before they started.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 12 of 17
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,988member
    adm1 said:
    sounds almost identical to the iOS app - TrueCaller? If its allowed, can't see why this isn't.
    I presume Truecaller uses a database of phone numbers supplied by users? I already block calls, and my list is long, but what's to keep someone from submitting legitimate phone numbers? Who controls that database? As others have said and know, there is a Do Not Disturb on the iPhone and even though it shuts everything down, it still is available on every iPhone made. Maybe India needs to talk to some of those technical support lines too many American companies use to understand what's already available.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,919member
    And let me guess, the default setting of the App would be 'on' making it spyware.  I think Apple should open discussion up on this and explain that even state-sponsored, pseudo-elective data harvesting is actually a breach of consumer privacy. 
  • Reply 14 of 17
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,892member
    cropr said:

    Personally I am convinced that there is not single for profit company that put the end user interest always first.  The fact that Apple has slowed down investing in the new HTML5 standards for Safari like service workers, asm.js, ...  because it could potentially hamper app store revenues, is clearly such a case.  Closing down the VPN apps in the China app store is another example.

    They removed VPN apps on demand of the Chinese government, not because it competes with their own built-in VPN functionality.

    And how have they "slowed down" on investing in HTML5 standards? Can you prove that? Or is it based on the fact that other browser engines are further ahead on certain items? That stuff is not trivial to implement. See: webkit.org/status

    Please make sure you have your facts accurate before posting.

    edited August 2017 magman1979sumjuan
  • Reply 15 of 17
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,035member
    I am not sure why Apple couldn't easily create reporting functionality whereby a user can send numbers of bothersome callers (telemarketers, bittersome debt collectors, stalkers) to a telecoms regulator if they wished to.

    After all, we can do something similar here with the 'Do Not Call' list on our landlines. 

    In other words, Apple should call TRAI's bluff and say "sure, we are letting them report a number to you with one touch."
    First, it was not completely obvious the Indian government want to give users the ability to send data from their cell phone to the government to report harrassing calls. When I hear do not disturb it means the call does not get through, not report this call.

    However, maybe people in India should pay their bills so Bill collectors do not call them. I pay my bills so I never get those calls. Also I use ooma at home and they have this great feature I can black list anyone so their calls never get through. I can also set up numbers of people are only allowed to get through. Since getting ooma  I no longer get calls which I do not want.

     I never give out my cell phone number to anyone I do not want calling me. Also on the iPhone I can block a caller, also AT&T allows me to block callers. 

    Why doesn't the Indian government force the carries to provide the do not disturb feature. Why force it onto the phone.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    croprcropr Posts: 1,078member
    cropr said:

    Personally I am convinced that there is not single for profit company that put the end user interest always first.  The fact that Apple has slowed down investing in the new HTML5 standards for Safari like service workers, asm.js, ...  because it could potentially hamper app store revenues, is clearly such a case.  Closing down the VPN apps in the China app store is another example.

    They removed VPN apps on demand of the Chinese government, not because it competes with their own built-in VPN functionality.

    And how have they "slowed down" on investing in HTML5 standards? Can you prove that? Or is it based on the fact that other browser engines are further ahead on certain items? That stuff is not trivial to implement. See: webkit.org/status

    Please make sure you have your facts accurate before posting.

    Apple is following Chinese government but not the Indian government.  I fail to see that this is in the interest of the end-user.

    For the facts just look at caniuse.com and you will see that Safari is not performing well in supporting new technologies, considerably worse than Chrome, Firefox or Opera and only marginally better than Intenet Edge.   If you would have looked to caniuse.com 6 years ago Safari was leading the pack.
    Service worker is the key technology to make progressive web apps possible, see https://clockwise.software/blog/web-development-trends-in-2018/    ; Progressive web apps offer a user experience very close to native mobile apps (notifications, offline use, icon on home screen, ...), but are still web apps, meaning they don need to be approved by Apple and Apple is not getting a 30% cut of the revenue.  So Apple has been very reluctant to develop it.   It moved only recently from "in consideration" to "in development"  due to high demand from web developers. It won't be available in iOS11, so we have to wait at least another year, while it was available in Chrome, Firefox and Opera since 2016, and it can be enabled in Internet Edge.



    gatorguy
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