May 16, 2022 8:37 am

Data privacy: what is the function of the iPhone that the telephone companies ask to withdraw

The four major European telephone operators -Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile- have demanded that Apple withdraw Private Relay, the latest privacy function incorporated into iPhone mobiles that prevents anyone, not even Apple, from seeing the identity of the user or what pages you visit while browsing.

Operators consider, however, that this function encrypts the communications of iPhone users, considering that it harms digital sovereignty and network management. A common front in which the three largest telephone operators in Spain and other large companies such as T-Mobile are. Together they have sent a letter to the European Commission, to which the British newspaper has had access The Telegraph, in which they ask that Apple be prohibited from continuing to use this feature.

Private Relay is a feature of Apple’s iCloud cloud services that is present in beta on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 systems, for iPhone and iPad respectively. It is intended to protect privacy when using the branded browser, Safari.

As Apple explains in a support document, this system, which is only available in some countries, ensures that no one, not even Apple, can see the user’s identity or what pages they visit while browsing. This also excludes the network provider and websites, which can normally access browsing data such as DNS records and IP address.

European operators believe that Relay prevents them from managing telecommunications networks, and that it also harms the services they offer, such as protection against harmful content for their customers. Furthermore, they say it will have an impact on innovation and competition in the digital world. “The way in which Private Relay is implemented will have significant consequences in terms of undermining European digital sovereignty,” the operators denounced in the letter to the European Commission.

The signatories of the letter have also warned about other negative consequences of the iCloud function. “Private Relay will prevent others from innovating and competing in downstream digital markets and may negatively affect the ability of operators to efficiently manage telecommunications networks”, they have affected. The operators also consider that the implementation of Relay turns Apple into a kind of digital guardian according to the new Digital Markets law of the European Union, but they have requested immediate action before its implementation, which is expected to take place next year. coming.

The operators’ complaint joins that of Google, which has denounced that Apple pressures Android users through iMessage, where they are identified with a different color than the usual blue of the application, and has pointed out that it is a strategy for them to acquire devices of your brand.

These accusations stem from the lawsuit between Epic Games and Apple, which brought to light the company’s strategy in which Tim Cook appears as CEO to prevent its users from changing their devices for others with the Android operating system.

Apple considered bringing this messaging service, which competes with others like WhatsApp or Telegram, to Android. However, it finally decided not to do so so as not to expose itself to its users exchanging branded products, such as iPhones or tablets, for others from the competition and remain within its ecosystem of devices. Added to these revelations is an article published by The Wall Street Journal, detailing how American teens feel left out of iMessage social circles because of the way they appear in them, colored differently than the usual blue of iPhone users.

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