Apple isn't giving into the Indian government by introducing the DND app — it has found a middle ground

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  • Apple has agreed to list the Indian telecom regulators’ Do-Not-Disturb app in its App Store.
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had threatened to bar the company from using Indian networks if it's request was not met.
  • While Apple may have met TRAI's request on paper, the app is only available on iPhones that are running iOS 12.1.
American smartphone manufacturer, Apple, has been facing its fair share of regulatory hurdles in India but is being seen by many as 'giving in' on one front by allowing the government's Do-Not-Disturb (DND) app in the App Store.

The directive by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) specified that 'all' of company's devices must support the DND app, but in Apple's case, only devices running on iOS 12.1 have that capability.

So rather than 'giving in' to the government, the American company has managed to find a middle ground where its concerns of privacy are addressed and the government is placated.

What was the fuss about?

It's been over a year that TRAI has been threatening foreign smartphone manufacturers that if they wish to continue to operate on Indian telecom networks, their phones have to support the TRAI-DND app.

In fact, six months ago it issued an ultimatum for smartphone manufacturers to get on-board, or get barred from Indian networks. While the order was generalised to address 'all access providers', it was more or less a direct warning to Apple because they were the only company yet to comply with the request.

Apple may be a 'premium' smartphone manufacturer but its unique selling point (USP) is its interface security, which is deemed to be impenetrable.

So when TRAI asked for Apple to list DND app in the App Store, the company had concerns that the app wasn't necessarily as secure as assumed. In fact, the TRAI-DND app asks for access to user SMS and call logs, which Apple rightly claimed goes against its policy to not share user data with third parties.

While TRAI's directive was in no way uncertain that 'all' of a company's devices need to be able to support the TRAI-DND app, Apple's support is limited to devices running iOS 12.1 since the only way smartphone manufacturer was apple to bring on the app in the first place was through the spam reporting feature of the iOS 12.

All phones running on Android in the country can download the TRAI-DND app, but the efficiency of the app is unproven. Another DND app called TrueCaller is much more popular for spotting spam callers and blocking nuisances.
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