Apple may be forced to back down in India privacy clash

By

India iPhone sales
This could be one fight Apple won't win.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple may have “won” its standoff with the FBI over privacy, but it’s unlikely to be able to repeat the same feat in a clash with the Indian government on the same topic.

A new article published by Reuters runs down the various obstacles Apple faces in its battle with India’s telecom regulator over an anti-spam app, which Apple believes infringes on user privacy. And while nothing is settled yet, this looks like one fight Apple won’t be winning!

The app in question is a government-sanctioned one called Do Not Disturb. This anti-spam app prompted concerns from Apple due to the fact that it allows the Indian government to access customers’ call and text message logs. However, it now appears that Apple may back down after the threat of the iPhone being shut out of India altogether if it refuses to allow the app.

Today’s report notes that Apple’s “normally deft management of government relations is being put to a fresh high-stakes test” with the clash. Apple, in essence, has very little leverage.

It has not yet gotten the tax breaks it needs for suppliers to expand local manufacturing, and also has yet to be granted permission for official Apple Stores in the country. With a measly 1 percent market share in the world’s second most populous market, Apple is desperate to grow its iPhone market share.

Will it have to compromise on its ideals?

To do this, however, could mean compromising on some of its principles with regards to privacy. Reuters notes that Apple has sent a letter to Indian regulators trying to find a mid-ground but, failing this, it seems that it may have to simply go along with requests.

This isn’t unheard of among big tech companies. Recently, Apple had to agree to move iCloud accounts in China to a government-owned company, or risk being booted out of the country. Google has also seemingly gone back on its previous position by working on a censored version of Google in China.

With India’s Do Not Disturb app already available on Android, it seems that Google has made its position on this matter clear in India. Now we’ll just need to wait and see if Apple does the same.

Source: Reuters