The government of India may ban iPhones in the country after six months, if Apple decides not to give in to demands involving an anti-spam app.
Apple has recently been reported to be struggling in India in terms of iPhone sales, with less than a million units sold in the first half. The issue with the Indian government, however, is another, and more serious, matter altogether.
Apple Vs India Government
Apple is currently facing the possibility of getting iPhones banned in India, due to an order by the country's telecommunications regulator.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, in a bid to protect consumers from spam calls and texts, developed and released a Do Not Disturb app. It allows users to report spam to the authorities and is currently available on the Google Play Store.
Apple, however, has so far refused to approve the Do Not Disturb app, ironically due to privacy concerns. The app accesses the call and message logs of users to be able to report spam calls and texts to TRAI.
In new regulations rolled out by TRAI, the agency is now requiring all carriers in India to make the Do Not Disturb app available to all users in the country. The carriers have been given a deadline of six months, after which smartphones that do not have the app installed will be cut off from the networks.
It was previously reported that Apple will work with TRAI to develop a version of the anti-spam app that will conform to the App Store rules while providing the same intended function. There has been no update on that project since then, so Apple with have to pick it up and work on that app or see iPhone sales in India further dwindle due to being banned from connecting to carriers in the country.
Apple Keeps The iPhone Locked Down
Apple has famously been stubborn in keeping the iPhone locked down, even against government orders. Perhaps the most high-profile case over the issue is the iPhone SE used by the San Bernardino shooters in December 2015.
Apple pushed back against the demands of the FBI to create a tool to break iPhone encryption, stating that it will be a violation of the constitution and will set a dangerous precedent that will place all other iPhones at risk. Apple never relented, until the FBI eventually developed a hacking tool to crack the iPhone.
Giving up user privacy in the name of protecting against spam is much different from doing so to acquire information about terrorists. However, both are based on Apple's strong stance on user privacy.