Apple appears to have partially backed down in a clash with the Indian government over whether or not to help develop an anti-spam application for iOS, having previously refused to do so because of privacy concerns.
The issue concerned a so-called “Do Not Disturb” app, which the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India wanted Apple to distribute on the App Store. The app is already available on Android.
The app allows individuals to report unsolicited marketing texts or calls as spam. Apple, however, initially refused to distribute it because of concern that the app lets the government access customers’ call and text message logs, which Apple claimed violated its privacy policies.
The issue become big enough that, last month, Apple executives flew to New Delhi to meet with government officials. They then agreed that they would help develop the app, but only with “limited capabilities.” Apple would not comment on the app’s potential inability to access call logs for reporting spam, which is a feature the Android version of the app has.
The ever growing focus on India
With half a billion smartphones predicted to sell in the country by 2020, Apple is understandably keen to stake its claim in India.
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.
Expanding its presence in the country is likely to involve a number of teething problems, just as Apple has experienced in China. Let’s hope that the solution in this case is one that both satisfies local officials and Apple’s commitment to user privacy!
Source: The Hindu Business Line