Why Trai chief has called Apple 'anti-consumer' in India

Apple has been in discussion with Trai over DND app, however, there appears to be no resolution
Telecom regulator Trai has accused iPhone maker Apple being "anti-consumer" in India. To tighten the noose on telemarketers, Trai,  in 2016, had launched a mobile application for telecom subscribers to register their complaints against pesky calls and SMSes.

While Android users can install the 'Do Not Disturb' (DND) app, iOS users do not have access to it. The matter has remained unresolved over the last one year and has now led to an attack on the American electronics giant by R S Sharma, chairman of Trai.  

"While Google's Android supports our Do-Not-Disturb (DND) app, Apple has just been discussing, discussing, and discussing. They have not done anything," Sharma told TOI.

"So basically you (Apple) are violating the right of the user to willingly share his/her own data with the regulator or with any third party of his/her choice. If a customer wants to share financial transaction data with his/her bank, for getting a loan, why should it not be allowed?" Sharma said, adding, "This is what we call data colonisation."

Apple has been in discussion with Trai over this issue, however, there appears to be no resolution. "They are anti-consumer and they are really not caring for their customers who could have been saved from pesky calls and unwanted messages."

Data ownership

The Trai chief said another issue that needs to be debated is the rights on the data that is being generated by a customer. "There is a more fundamental question about data ownership. While data privacy and data security are very important issues, there is also a fundamental issue about data ownership over here." Sharma said that it is the customer who should have the last right over the data that he or she is generating.

DND App features:

• An intelligent spam detection engine (for SMS only) to assist the subscriber in reporting

• Crowdsourcing of data about offending messages and calls to speed up detection of unregistered telemarketers

• Updates about action taken on complaints within the App

• The app can procure SMS details and call records of an individual from the phone's messages column and call-log records

• Users can also view the status of their lodged complaints

• Once the app is opened, users can choose to select DND for particular channels like education, banking/insurance/credit cards, health and consumer goods etc
The description of the app in Google Play Store states, "The interface of the app is extremely user friendly and does not require much user mediation. Users can likewise check their registration status and status of complaints (SMS/calls). Some options of this app require internet connection."

Apple has NOT allowed convergence on its iOS platform

Apple subscribers in the country cannot download and use this app to report or block spam calls and SMSes. According to MoneyControl, Apple has not listed the app on its app store due to its privacy policy as the application requires users' personal information such as location, contacts, call logs, SMSes and other details.

A variety of applications from social media, chat and other domains such as Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Truecaller and Zomato seek users' personal information.

Apple features: Apple has given developers strong tools such as Touch ID APIs, 256-bit encryption and app transport security so they can build secure apps. And, all apps are sandboxed so your personal information is protected.

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