Senate Judiciary advances bill that would force Apple to allow iOS side-loading

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 3
The Open Markets Act, which would force Apple to allow side-loading on iOS, has advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now go before the full Senate for a vote.

U.S. Capitol Building. Credit: Alejandro Barba/Unsplash
U.S. Capitol Building. Credit: Alejandro Barba/Unsplash


Members of the Judiciary Committee approved the legislation in a nearly unanimous 21-1 vote on Thursday, according to media reports. Sen. John Cornyn was the only committee member to vote no on the antitrust legislation.

The passage of the Open App Markets Act out of the Senate Judiciary committee brings us one step closer to having this legislation signed into law. This bill will let people download apps directly from outside companies rather than being forced to go through official app stores.

-- Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn)


The Open Markets Act is an antitrust bill that would place additional restrictions on large technology companies like Apple and Google. It would ban those companies from prohibiting side-loading -- or downloading apps from outside an official app store -- on their platform. In Apple's case, it would allow users to download apps from places other than the App Store.

Additionally, the legislation would also bar companies from requiring developers to use their first-party payment systems and bans the practice of large tech giants using non-public information to compete with other apps.

"By establishing new rules for app stores, this legislation will help level the playing field and ensure an innovative and competitive app marketplace," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, one of the bill's main sponsors. "Now that it has passed the Judiciary Committee with strong bipartisan support, we are one step closer to it passing the Senate and being signed into law."

Apple has been a vocal critic of the legislation, penning multiple letters to members of the Senate Judiciary. According to Apple, the bill would do harm to user privacy, security, and choice unless amended.

The Cupertino tech giant has railed against side-loading. Apple executives have said that side-loading on iOS would create a "gold rush" for malware. It has also issued multiple reports explaining why it thinks side-loading would be bad for iOS users and developers.

Ahead of the vote on Thursday, the bill's advancement from the Senate Judiciary Committee seemed likely. However, the legislation will face a tougher fight when it goes up for a vote before the full Senate.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    The sad thing about members of Congress is that there's no requirement for having a functioning brain. If you're elected, you serve. I would guess that every member of Congress pays technically qualified people to assist them in deciding what to do. Of course every single one of these people, along with lobbyists, has an opinion on what should be done. So do we but we are not heard by Congress. Every single mobile device owned by the US Government has been extensively configured. Android devices are allowed but I doubt the configuration allows side-loading, instead using as secure as possible mobile device management (MDM) system. Non-government users have access to these MDM systems but I doubt more than 0.00001% of non-government and non-commercial users actually use these systems. Once side-loading is allowed, and there better be a setting to disable this ability and it better be set to disable by default, hackers will finally have the ability to bypass these settings (if they weren't there, there wouldn't be a way to bypass them), adding hidden email, message and website malware, totally destroying the entire Apple ecosystem. Every Appleinsider commenter nows this would happen and it would happen on day one. It might still happen even with a heavily locked down MDM system. We've all seen this on the Mac, especially in the early days. It still happens today but mainly from non-certificated apps where the user intentionally bypasses Apple's controls. 

    We all know we have to follow the money when anything happens in Congress. This isn't an antitrust bill because there's way too many other businesses that do the same thing. It's a money grab by politicians and a push to stop certain companies who might not be paying off politicians enough. I spent the vast majority of my working career protecting computer systems from attack and Apple is providing a service to its customers that Congress doesn't understand while agreeing with a few software companies who are greedy. If Apple is forced to allow side-loading and my iOS devices are compromised, I will be filing a lawsuit against the US Government for forcing Apple to be less secure.

    Final comment. The other participants in this idiotic Act are our three-letter agencies who have been fighting for years to get a backdoor into Apple products. Side-loading will be accomplished whenever you log onto a government website or use a government-sponsored (or required) iOS app. Tell me I'm wrong with actual documentation that says these agencies are not funding any of these politicians or providing any of the technical people bogus information to get them to force this change. 
    j2fusionroundaboutnowviclauyycmaximaraAppleUfmyIbeowulfschmidtkillroyjony0
  • Reply 2 of 48
    Suggestion to Apple: Get ahead of this massive security problem. If anyone can side load any app they want onto their iOS device, that puts every other app at risk from data theft and other hacks. To get around this start working right now on an alternative version of iOS that users can install if they want to, much like the beta profiles you have  now. The alternative side loading open iOS has no Apple App Store. It has no access to iCloud, CloudKit or any other technology that could become compromised by apps that have not been through the app review process. Most iOS users (myself included) will opt for the secure version of iOS for their primary devices. For older, otherwise unused devices, the alternative open but unsecure iOS will be a lot of fun to play with. Think of it as another form of recycling. The open iOS does no not need to be updated as often as the main secure version because (duh) it's not secure.
    edited February 3 narwhalrob53aderuttersdw2001qwerty52dope_ahmineBosaradarthekatAppleUfmyImuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 48
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,838member
    I called my senator's office and very politely, but vehemently, registered my very strong objections to the side-loading feature of this legislation.
    roundaboutnowwilliamlondonrob53viclauyycqwerty52maximarakillroyjony0
  • Reply 4 of 48
    If they pass, then regulations should apply to all other retailers. Box stores would need to alert shoppers to lower prices elsewhere. They would have to accept whatever pay method I wanted to pay with. I should be able to place my products on their shelves.
    narwhalrob53lkruppviclauyycqwerty52maximararadarthekatjony0
  • Reply 5 of 48
    Suggestion to Apple: Get ahead of this massive security problem. If anyone can side load any app they want onto their iOS device, that puts every other app at risk from data theft and other hacks. To get around this start working right now on an alternative version of iOS that users can install if they want to, much like the beta profiles you have  now. The alternative side loading open iOS has no Apple App Store. It has no access to iCloud, CloudKit or any other technology that could become compromised by apps that have not been through the app review process. Most iOS users (myself included) will opt for the secure version of iOS for their primary devices. For older, otherwise unused devices, the alternative open but unsecure iOS will be a lot of fun to play with. Think of it as another form of recycling. The open iOS does no not need to be updated as often as the main secure version because (duh) it's not secure.
    Apple could let user choose to side-load in a settings option. Just like ATT. Google Android has been doing like this since the beginning of Android. And we have not heard any Android user hurt or complain about this. 
    williamlondonjony0
  • Reply 6 of 48
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,922member
    Terrible idea. Who gets the blame if your device gets bricked or all your information is stolen? 
    williamlondonmaximarakillroyjony0
  • Reply 7 of 48
    I agree wholeheartedly with Rob53 and thought of an additional issue with side loading.  Do you think for one minute if Apple is required to allow side loading that less scrupulous companies (I’m looking at you Meta) won’t pull their App from Apple’s App Store and either create their own store or make a deal with one that has less restrictive rules in regard to privacy.  ATT will be out the window and any clout Apple has to protect consumers will be eliminated. I realize there is no such thing as a benevolent dictator but Apple has been the only company I’ve seen that even makes an attempt to prevent the outrageous data mining that has been going on. And even there, Apple is not saying to companies you can’t do it, they are just saying you have to give the user a choice if you do.
    rob53georgie01maximarakillroy
  • Reply 8 of 48
    Suggestion to Apple: Get ahead of this massive security problem. If anyone can side load any app they want onto their iOS device, that puts every other app at risk from data theft and other hacks. To get around this start working right now on an alternative version of iOS that users can install if they want to, much like the beta profiles you have  now. The alternative side loading open iOS has no Apple App Store. It has no access to iCloud, CloudKit or any other technology that could become compromised by apps that have not been through the app review process. Most iOS users (myself included) will opt for the secure version of iOS for their primary devices. For older, otherwise unused devices, the alternative open but unsecure iOS will be a lot of fun to play with. Think of it as another form of recycling. The open iOS does no not need to be updated as often as the main secure version because (duh) it's not secure.
    Apple could let user choose to side-load in a settings option. Just like ATT. Google Android has been doing like this since the beginning of Android. And we have not heard any Android user hurt or complain about this. 
    That would be true if Apple had allowed side loading from the beginning and built protections into iOS to fire wall side loaded apps from the rest of the system. Apple did not do that. Instead they fought against side loading using lobbyists. The result is that if they suddenly allowed side loading, the entire operating system is wide open (as it is to apps in jail broken devices).
    rob53qwerty52
  • Reply 9 of 48
    jungmark said:
    Terrible idea. Who gets the blame if your device gets bricked or all your information is stolen? 
    Apple who fought against side loading rather than built in support and protection for it?
    jony0
  • Reply 10 of 48
    Suggestion to Apple: Get ahead of this massive security problem. If anyone can side load any app they want onto their iOS device, that puts every other app at risk from data theft and other hacks. To get around this start working right now on an alternative version of iOS that users can install if they want to, much like the beta profiles you have  now. The alternative side loading open iOS has no Apple App Store. It has no access to iCloud, CloudKit or any other technology that could become compromised by apps that have not been through the app review process. Most iOS users (myself included) will opt for the secure version of iOS for their primary devices. For older, otherwise unused devices, the alternative open but unsecure iOS will be a lot of fun to play with. Think of it as another form of recycling. The open iOS does no not need to be updated as often as the main secure version because (duh) it's not secure.
    Apple could let user choose to side-load in a settings option. Just like ATT. Google Android has been doing like this since the beginning of Android. And we have not heard any Android user hurt or complain about this. 
    That would be true if Apple had allowed side loading from the beginning and built protections into iOS to fire wall side loaded apps from the rest of the system. Apple did not do that. Instead they fought against side loading using lobbyists. The result is that if they suddenly allowed side loading, the entire operating system is wide open (as it is to apps in jail broken devices).
    The user will need to go to settings and choose to enable side loading. Like Mac OSX, the user will be told when an app is side loaded. The difficult part is Apple needs to protect the OS from these side loaded apps. 
    killroy
  • Reply 11 of 48
    "This bill will let people download apps directly from outside companies rather than being forced to go through official app stores."

    And who's going to guarantee that the same apps can be downloaded from both sources? Nobody. So Senator Blackburn is promoting a false choice with this quote. 


    killroy
  • Reply 12 of 48
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,030member
    Suggestion to Apple: Get ahead of this massive security problem. If anyone can side load any app they want onto their iOS device, that puts every other app at risk from data theft and other hacks. To get around this start working right now on an alternative version of iOS that users can install if they want to, much like the beta profiles you have  now. The alternative side loading open iOS has no Apple App Store. It has no access to iCloud, CloudKit or any other technology that could become compromised by apps that have not been through the app review process. Most iOS users (myself included) will opt for the secure version of iOS for their primary devices. For older, otherwise unused devices, the alternative open but unsecure iOS will be a lot of fun to play with. Think of it as another form of recycling. The open iOS does no not need to be updated as often as the main secure version because (duh) it's not secure.
    Apple could let user choose to side-load in a settings option. Just like ATT. Google Android has been doing like this since the beginning of Android. And we have not heard any Android user hurt or complain about this. 
    Then those of you who want to force side loading on Apple should move to Android and be happy. But no, you want to decide how Apple runs its business. Why?
    aderuttergeorgie01maximaradope_ahmineqwerty52radarthekatj2fusionviclauyyckillroyjony0
  • Reply 13 of 48
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    Suggestion to Apple: Get ahead of this massive security problem. If anyone can side load any app they want onto their iOS device, that puts every other app at risk from data theft and other hacks. To get around this start working right now on an alternative version of iOS that users can install if they want to, much like the beta profiles you have  now. The alternative side loading open iOS has no Apple App Store. It has no access to iCloud, CloudKit or any other technology that could become compromised by apps that have not been through the app review process. Most iOS users (myself included) will opt for the secure version of iOS for their primary devices. For older, otherwise unused devices, the alternative open but unsecure iOS will be a lot of fun to play with. Think of it as another form of recycling. The open iOS does no not need to be updated as often as the main secure version because (duh) it's not secure.
    Apple could let user choose to side-load in a settings option. Just like ATT. Google Android has been doing like this since the beginning of Android. And we have not heard any Android user hurt or complain about this. 
    I don't care about Android especially because nobody really comments on all the issues Android has. Google could care less, especially since their only reason for being in business is to steal user information to sell ads. 

    IF Apple is forced to provide side-loading, as @OutdoorAppDeveloper states, Apple would have to provide and install the api's necessary to use side-loading. Once the capability is there, a good developer/hacker can easily exploit it even if the user has turned it off. It might be as simple as installing a common, free app that everyone uses (Facebook???) and the install changes the side-loading setting after a few uses (so the App Store testers don't catch it fight off). I'm not a developer but I'm sure this could easily be configured, just like the official Olympic app that forces certain monitoring of athletes. There's no other option for the athletes. That's why I used the US government as an example. Submit your taxes via the IRS app and the FBI/NSA force the side-loading setting to be turned on then immediately include a backdoor. This isn't from a movie, it's common sense. If you don't think the FBI/NSA can already break into almost every version of Android you're in denial. 
    killroy
  • Reply 14 of 48
    Suggestion to Apple: Get ahead of this massive security problem. If anyone can side load any app they want onto their iOS device, that puts every other app at risk from data theft and other hacks. To get around this start working right now on an alternative version of iOS that users can install if they want to, much like the beta profiles you have  now. The alternative side loading open iOS has no Apple App Store. It has no access to iCloud, CloudKit or any other technology that could become compromised by apps that have not been through the app review process. Most iOS users (myself included) will opt for the secure version of iOS for their primary devices. For older, otherwise unused devices, the alternative open but unsecure iOS will be a lot of fun to play with. Think of it as another form of recycling. The open iOS does no not need to be updated as often as the main secure version because (duh) it's not secure.
    Apple could let user choose to side-load in a settings option. Just like ATT. Google Android has been doing like this since the beginning of Android. And we have not heard any Android user hurt or complain about this. 
    That assumes the App you want is available in Apple’s App Store.  Once side loading is allowed, there will be exclusive apps all over the place.  That means you will have to have your credit card information in even more places.  The end result will be similar to what is happening in the streaming market.  You have to subscribe to many different providers to get the content you want.  More places for your personal information to get stolen.   I’m not even going to mention the security issues on the device itself as others have covered it quite well.

    georgie01maximararadarthekatviclauyyckillroy
  • Reply 15 of 48
    I want to have the choice in the tech market where I can choose to use a closed system, a walled garden, so I do not have to worry about viruses, malware, a million sign-in accounts, hand off my CC to every hackable online store, and all that crap. Can we pull this off America?! It's like every week we read about governments wanting to pass laws to break apart the ecosystem.
    netroxmaximararadarthekatviclauyyckillroyjony0
  • Reply 16 of 48
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,226member
    Can’t the government just leave Apple alone. The company flourishes best without outside meddling. 
    georgie01viclauyyckillroy
  • Reply 17 of 48
    bvgkbvgk Posts: 15member
    good move. 

    one word -> Parler

    this bill is required since long time - as Apple and Google have been dangerously controlling the narrative !!!!!
  • Reply 18 of 48
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,804moderator
    Suggestion to Apple: Get ahead of this massive security problem. If anyone can side load any app they want onto their iOS device, that puts every other app at risk from data theft and other hacks. To get around this start working right now on an alternative version of iOS that users can install if they want to, much like the beta profiles you have  now. The alternative side loading open iOS has no Apple App Store. It has no access to iCloud, CloudKit or any other technology that could become compromised by apps that have not been through the app review process. Most iOS users (myself included) will opt for the secure version of iOS for their primary devices. For older, otherwise unused devices, the alternative open but unsecure iOS will be a lot of fun to play with. Think of it as another form of recycling. The open iOS does no not need to be updated as often as the main secure version because (duh) it's not secure.
    Apple could let user choose to side-load in a settings option. Just like ATT. Google Android has been doing like this since the beginning of Android. And we have not heard any Android user hurt or complain about this. 
    That would be true if Apple had allowed side loading from the beginning and built protections into iOS to fire wall side loaded apps from the rest of the system. Apple did not do that. Instead they fought against side loading using lobbyists. The result is that if they suddenly allowed side loading, the entire operating system is wide open (as it is to apps in jail broken devices).
    The user will need to go to settings and choose to enable side loading. Like Mac OSX, the user will be told when an app is side loaded. The difficult part is Apple needs to protect the OS from these side loaded apps. 
    Yes, they'd need to run a virtual machine inside iOS with a separate copy of the OS and they can run it in software mode without hardware acceleration and limited to a low amount of memory. This way it has no access to contacts/photos/biometrics/browsers. It would comply with allowing 3rd party apps to run. It would have to boot this separate OS each time a 3rd party app was used. It doesn't even have to run iOS, it can run Linux, there's nothing in the bill that says they have to allow running a particular kind of app, just that there has to be an alternative that isn't under Apple's control.

    The bill also has a condition that it requires being able to delete the bundled App Store:

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/2710/text?r=49&s=1

    That means Apple wouldn't even be able to update its own software but users won't ever delete it because of that.

    They've specifically targeted the bill at Apple and Google by limiting it to 50m US app store users because otherwise it would apply to Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

    Apple and Google can both comply with the 50m users too. They can just block access to the store on their devices in every state that votes for the bill. They have no obligation to provide a store at all.
    radarthekatkillroy
  • Reply 19 of 48
    Yup,  Make a profile for those who want to and one for those who don't.  I would trust that more than a setting.  

    The app store deletion is nuts.  
    killroy
  • Reply 20 of 48
    So does this mean I can go into Walmart and set up my own cash register?
    maximaradocbburkget serious
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