Apple Draws Hard Line On Privacy In India, After Caving To China


Apple is reportedly refusing to approve an anti-spam app sponsored by the Indian government due to privacy concerns, and the move is aggravating regulators.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is trying to push its Do Not Disturb software, which allows people to share records of calls and text message suspected of being spam with the government, according to Bloomberg. Apple says the program violates its privacy policy.

The confrontation between the two parties could stymie Apple’s campaign in India, a country with an enormous consumer market. The U.S. tech company wants to open brick and mortar locations and directly sell used iPhones in the nation. Apple shipped millions of iPhones to India last year and even started assembling some products in the country.

But because of its denial to alter or make an exception to its privacy policy — which says data can be shared with business associates but not other parties —  Apple may have harmed its chances of fully penetrating the Indian market.

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

“The problem of who controls user data is getting acute, and we have to plug the loose ends,” Sharma continued. “This is not the regulator versus Apple, but Apple versus its own users.”

Such statements seem to show a disconnect in opinion for who should manage users’ data — the government or the private company offering the technology.

Apple did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by time of publication.

Apple’s resolute position in India is fairly different in comparison to another powerful country in Asia that also has a huge market. The tech company in July acquiesced to China’s demands to remove apps that provide virtual private networks (VPNs).

The technology allows users to navigate the web anonymously through an encrypted, secure connection. VPNs thus empower Chinese citizens with the ability to evade the country’s firewall (colloquially known as the Great Firewall of China), which prevents people from accessing many online services and sites that are available on the global internet.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are not accessible due to the firewall. Many Chinese citizens use Sina Weibo, a similar platform that is based in China and adheres to government’s calls for targeted censorship.

Apple has also capitulated to China in a number of other ways.

Overall, while Apple is steadfast in India, it chooses to yield to China, perhaps showing not only the power of the Chinese market and government, but also the company’s case-by-case business mindset.

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