Mobile & Tab

Trai Says Apple Is Anti-Customer And Accused For ‘Data Colonisation’ In India

Telecom regulator Trai has accused iPhone maker Apple of engaging in “data colonisation” in India and being “anti-consumer” by not allowing customers to pass on details about pesky calls and unwanted messages to authorities as well as their mobile operators.

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.

Trai had in June last year launched the DND app to have an effective control over the menace of pesky calls and unsolicited SMS.

The app has the capability to procure SMS details and call records of an individual from the phone’s messages column and call-log records. This would enable a customer to report the number sending unsolicited messages or making pesky calls straight to Trai from the app, following which action could be taken.

However, Apple has not allowed such a convergence on its iOS platform, leading customers of the premium device maker exasperated. “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.”

However, it is understood that the company is engaged in deliberations with the regulator over the matter. Sharma said that Apple’s stand is not in the interest of its customers.
“They are anti-consumer and they are really not caring for their customers who could have been saved from pesky calls and unwanted messages.”
 The Trai chief said another issue that needs to be debated is about 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.
“It is my data. How can you take away my right over my own data?” He said an individual needs to have control over the data being generated by him or her, and also have the freedom to share it with whosever he/she wants to share with.
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