Senate bills will do real harm to consumer privacy & security, Apple argues

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 18
Apple has sent a letter to U.S. lawmakers strongly voicing its opposition to several antitrust bills, claiming that the proposed acts would hurt competition, stifle innovation, and harm consumer privacy and security.

US Capitol building
US Capitol building


In the letter, which was obtained by AppleInsider, Apple criticizes both the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act, two pieces of legislation that seek to rein in the power of tech giants and online app marketplaces. The letter, dated Jan. 18, was sent to several members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, including Sens. Dick Durbin, Chuck Grassley, Amy Klobuchar, and Mike Lee.

While the two bills would harm competition and innovation, the "most serious issue" with the proposed acts would be the harm they would do to Americans' security and privacy, wrote Timothy Powderly, Apple's Senior Director of Government Affairs and the author of the letter.

"These bills will reward those who have been irresponsible with users' data and empower bad actors who would target consumers with malware, ransomware, and scams," Powderly wrote.

For example, Apple takes issue with requirements in the bills that would force companies to prove that privacy or security protections were "necessary" and "narrowly tailored." The letter calls this a "nearly insurmountable test."

Additionally, Powderly also goes after the requirement to allow consumers to download apps from outside of official app stores -- known as side-loading. As Apple has argued before, this would "eliminate [the] choice" of having safe apps and would empower cybercriminals.

"Some have dismissed the risk, pointing to competing platforms that permit sideloading and arguing that the 'sky has not fallen'," Powderly wrote. "But, if Apple is force to enable sideloading, millions of Americans will likely suffer malware attacks on their phones that would otherwise have been stopped."

To that end, Apple also repeated its claims that it stopped more than $1 billion worth of fraudulent transactions.
Government regulators should not ignore the benefits consumers receive from Apple, including protection from online predators and scammers. In 2020 alone, Apple protected users from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions. Every day, our team blocks apps that are incomplete or misleading, collect more user data than they need, or otherwise try to trick unsuspecting users. Our efforts are not perfect, but they provide significant consumer benefits. And this security is also a boon to competition. Our rigorous app review guidelines create a secure space for users to explore nearly 1.8 million apps, with more than 100,000 new submissions each week.
In other portions of the letter, Apple touts the trustworthiness, privacy, and security of the App Store, stating that the marketplace is good for consumers and "great for developers."

"Because consumers have come to trust and rely on Apple's App Store for this protection, software developers also receive an extraordinary benefit: they don't have to worry about whether the iOS users they want to become customers will trust them enough to download their apps," the lette reads. "Because Apple has built an inherently trustworthy and protected marketplace, consumers freely download whatever apps are in the store based solely on whether they think they will be useful or fun."

It also highlights the "overwhelmingly positive" consumer response to its App Tracking Transparency feature, which it says would be gutted by the bills.

Apple says it does agree with assessing regulatory frameworks in the tech sector and would like to continue working with lawmakers on "workable solutions." However, it strongly urges the Judiciary Committee not to approve either bill.

Apple to Durbin, Grassley, Klobuchar by Mike Wuerthele on Scribd

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Dogperson

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    It's a reasonable response from Apple. The Senate bills aren't really designed to be helpful to consumers. The side loading idea is entirely nonsensical, as consumers can already choose to buy a non-Apple phone and get that. And Apple correctly points out that the bills are not only ignoring privacy/security as a benefit, but also attempting to make privacy/security into a negative that has to be prevented. 
    DogpersoniOS_Guy80watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    What if big and publicly traded companies ripped off tactics the federal government has been using and placing that abuse of power where it rightfully belongs: on the ones who have been exercising an abuse of their office and there are some who are doing nothing more than advising today’s lawmakers.

    The ball rolls one way, right?

    “The fact that, as an enterprise, we conform to the laws and are criminalized by those that purchase our products is not the problem nor the issue. No, the problem and or problems is and are those that simply do not belong in the offices they are representing feel they just have no way to take their voice to the people that really can implement change and we at Apple are not proud nor are we ashamed to offer that ability and capability but if it means that as a healthy society we must all agree on who the criminal really is and no one wants to answer for but for a few who can’t even get their stories straight then we are doomed to fail with literally no effort whatsoever on the government’s own accord due to people in various offices that think he and she are above the law which President Trump clearly stated that no one is above the law so how about striving to create fairness for all because as a chief executive officer the duty is to provide great products and the responsibility to do so is to accept feedback no matter the fashion of the delivery or choice of words. Unless that became a crime somewhere which brings up a privacy law and some acts of Congress even law enforcement gets their panties in a bunch about which is beyond childish and downright un-American when one considers the first amendment to The United States Constitution and just how thuggish it really is to be policing freedom of the press is now very awfully pervasive.”

    What kind of law enforcement agency polices freedom of the press? I say let this fight some of those that see “big tech is the problem” when all one has to do is sink or swim in the chosen industry your business is founded and don’t sell your intellectual property. If it belongs to him or her and this person or that person is found to be in compliance with its licensed use, what the problem becomes is What thereafter?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    So how does stifling and crippling one of a country's biggest and best corporations, one that is contributing to society, help competition?   How do you promote competition by hobbling the best competitor?
    It is the opposite.  It is destroying the best of the lot.  
    It doesn't promote competition.  It merely promotes the 2nd best.

    Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    And Apple correctly points out that the bills are not only ignoring privacy/security as a benefit, but also attempting to make privacy/security into a negative that has to be prevented. 
    That's deliberate, not accidental.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,948member
    And Apple correctly points out that the bills are not only ignoring privacy/security as a benefit, but also attempting to make privacy/security into a negative that has to be prevented. 
    That's deliberate, not accidental.
    We all know the only legal way government agencies can create back doors to our personal computing devices is by legislation. They’ve tried to do it illegally, now they want to legally force Apple to open their secure systems so the government can grab any data they want. Once side-loading is forced onto Apple, the government will force the inclusion of a “government access” app on every Apple device before it can be used on the internet. Can they require this? Of course the can and it would be backed by a large majority of members of Congress. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    rob53 said:
    And Apple correctly points out that the bills are not only ignoring privacy/security as a benefit, but also attempting to make privacy/security into a negative that has to be prevented. 
    That's deliberate, not accidental.
    We all know the only legal way government agencies can create back doors to our personal computing devices is by legislation. They’ve tried to do it illegally, now they want to legally force Apple to open their secure systems so the government can grab any data they want. Once side-loading is forced onto Apple, the government will force the inclusion of a “government access” app on every Apple device before it can be used on the internet. Can they require this? Of course the can and it would be backed by a large majority of members of Congress. 

    With the rise of domestic terrorists and insurrectionists the government needs a way to track them and their plots.

    But this is not it -- despite any and all conspiracy theories to the contrary.
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