Apple's battle with the Telecom Regulatory Body of India (TRAI) seems to be escalating further after TRAI announced new rules that could possibly lead to deactivations of services from telecom service providers for iPhone users.
TRAI on Thursday released the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference regulation that intends to cut down the number of fraudulent and intrusive calls across the country. The regulation overhauls existing measures and requires carriers to let their users download an app—TRAI DND 2.0, to their devices to help combat spam and also serves as a hub to report such calls and messages.
The regulator does not aim anything directly at Apple but suggests that if the Cupertino-based company does not provide access to the TRAI DND 2.0 app, it could order all carriers to discontinue services for iPhones.
The regulations which are available publicly on the TRAI website here very strongly state, "Every Access Provider shall ensure, within six months’ time, that all smartphone devices registered on its network support the permissions required for the functioning of such Apps as prescribed in the regulations 6(2)(e) and regulations 23(2)(d) [referring to the TRAI DND 2.0 app]."
It further mentioned, "Provided that where such devices do not permit functioning of such Apps as prescribed in regulations 6(2)(e) and regulations 23(2)(d), Access Providers shall, on the order or direction of the Authority, derecognize such devices from their telecom networks."
To recapitulate on what begun this argument between Apple and TRAI, Apple back in September made it clear that it did not want TRAI's DND 2.0 app to feature on the App Store citing privacy violations.
The TRAI DND app requires access to a great deal of user data, including location information, access to call and message logs, the ability to read messages, access to the media library, Device ID, full network access, etc. While a number of third-party apps on the App Store and Play Store ask for and receive most of these permissions, the DND app’s requirement for text message data is likely violating Apple’s privacy policies.
TRAI, on the contrary, have been stating that the app is perfectly safe and in March 2018 even threatened to take legal action against Apple, though it did not state the nature of the action at the time.