India Today - - UPFRONT - —Kaushik Deka

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

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