Apple approves India’s controversial Do Not Disturb app

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Apple and India’s government worked out their differences on an iOS app before iPhone was banned from that country.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple today made an anti-spam application developed by the Indian government available on that country’s version of its App Store. The software is designed to help prevent an avalanche of commercial phone calls and texts, but Apple had previously expressed concerns that it revealed too much information about users to the government.

The version of TRAI DND – Do Not Disturb just approved appears to deal with Apple’s concerns.

Mobile phone users in India have to put up with phone calls and texts every day from sketchy companies. The response of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was a “do not call” list and the Do Not Disturb application, which allowed users to report violations.

Apple objected to this software because it gave the Indian government access to every users’ complete call and text message logs. This is typical of the iPhone maker’s strong stance on user privacy, not just in India but around the world.

Not the same Do Not Disturb app

The application that appeared today in the Indian App Store appears to deal with Apple’s earlier concerns. It uses a system built into iOS 12 called “SMS/Call Reporting.” This gives  TRAI DND – Do Not Disturb details on specific calls and texts that a user reports, without also sharing information about other communications. 

Previously, the TRAI had given Apple until January to approve its anti-spam software or see the iPhone blocked from use in India.

While this is one hurdle passed, Apple still faces others. iPhones just aren’t selling in India. Fewer than a million iOS handsets sold there in the first half of this year, in a country with a population of 1.4 billion. And things aren’t turning around: the new iPhone XS and XS Max have sold worse than their predecessors there.

Source: VentureBeat