India fights Apple over anti-spam app ban

By

India iPhone sales
Apple is at odds with the Indian government.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is running into big problems in India, concerning a clash with the government over its anti-spam iOS app.

The problem comes down to a Do Not Disturb app, which the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India wants Apple to distribute on the App Store. Apple, however, is refusing since it allows people to share spam call and text message logs with government agency, which Apple claims violates its privacy policies.

“Nobody’s asking Apple to violate its privacy policy,” argues Ram Sewak Sharma, chairman of the Delhi-based telecom regulator. “It is a ridiculous situation, no company can be allowed to be the guardian of a user’s data.”

Currently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is investigating the subject of users’ control over their personal information. This process will be completed this month, and may lead to new laws concerning user data. In addition to Apple, these laws would also affect other tech giants like Facebook and Google, which handle private and personal data for users.

India: a big focus for Apple

While a quibble over whether to allow or ban an app sounds like a tiny issue for Apple, it has big implications. Due to China being an unpredictable market for Apple in many ways, India has increasingly been Apple’s focus.

With half a billion smartphones predicted to sell in the country by 2020, Apple is understandably keen to stake its claim in the local mobile market. In addition to opening an app accelerator in India, as well as pushing for the right to open a flagship Apple store in the country, Apple has started producing iPhones in India. Recently it was reported that Apple is working on a second-gen iPhone SE, which will be targeted specifically at the Indian market.

Over the next five years, Apple plans to double its Indian market share. Whether standoffs like this one will hurt that goal remains to be seen, but you’ve got to give Apple some credit for sticking to its closely-held pro privacy beliefs.

Source: Bloomberg