TRAI VERSUS APPLE
Tech giant Apple seems headed for tough times in Asia. First it was the Chinese government that forced the iconic US-based mobile handset maker to remove software programs that enable its users to view an uncensored internet. Now India’s telecom regulator Trai has accused the iPhone maker of engaging in “data colonisation” and being “anticonsumer” by not allowing customers to pass on details of pesky callers and unwanted messages to authorities and their mobile operators. The brand also found unwanted mention in a Supreme Court observation last month in a hearing before a nine-judge bench discussing the scope of right to privacy. “If 99 per cent of citizens are unconcerned about sharing personal data with private players like Apple, how is it different if the state has the same information?” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud asked the petitioners who challenged Aadhaar saying it was a violation of citizens’ right to privacy.
Trai had in June 2016 launched the Do Not Disturb (DND) application to monitor and take action against pesky callers and unsolicited SMSes. Once downloaded, this app scrutinises SMS and call records, allowing the user to directly report such calls and messages to Trai. Apple, however, has not allowed this application on its iOS platform, though Trai has been in touch with the company about this for over a year.
“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. This is data colonisation,” Trai chairman R.S. Sharma said in a newspaper interview. Worse for Apple, rival Google’s Android platform supports Trai’s DND app. The same Google that in 2010 pulled its search engine out of mainland China to protest government censorship.
Apple has refused to allow Trai’s DND app, inviting charges of data colonisation