At a time when the Telecon Regulatory Authority of India is breathing down Apple’s neck to install a pesky calls app, Apple is reportedly considering legal action against the telecom regulator.
According to an Economic Times report, Apple alleges that TRAI is exceeding its jurisdiction by directing telecom players to stop supporting iPhone, or handsets in general, that do not permit its do-not-disturb (DND) app to be downloaded.
DND is an app developed by TRAI and is available on Google Play Store and all Android devices carry them. Apple has not been compliant claiming the downloading of the app and its use on iPhones would mean compromising on the privacy of its customers which it is unwilling to compromise on.
The US phone maker has claimed that their latest operating system, iOS 12 to be made available to users of its products worldwide, has incorporated a feature by which unwanted messages can be screened and not delivered to the SMS inbox of the device. Apple feels this meets with the basic requirement of TRAI that unsolicited calls and messages must be blocked through the DND app.
The bone of contention now is the directive given by TRAI to all telecom service providers in the country to stop providing access to their networks on devices which don’t comply with the installation of the app. Apple has been joined by the industry body representing the cellular phone manufacturers in questioning the legal authority that TRAI has in asking the carries to determine which devices can carry their network and which won’t.
TRAI, particularly its Chairman R.S. Sharma, believes that the personal data residing on a customer’s phone belongs to the user of the device and they have the full right to share with anyone they choose. They question Apple or any phone maker’s right to own the personal data of their customers.
The naysayers to this condition by TRAI point out that it is not practicable to implement this by the service providers since they will not be able to determine if out of millions of handets out there which have the DND app and which haven’t. Secondly, even if it is available on the Play Store, what is the user has not chosen to download and install the app on his or her device?
The last factor is important since hardly 1 lakh users have downloaded the DND app so far, a very small number when compared to the number of handsets in use in the country.