TRAI Angry over Apple's Slow review of government's Do Not Disturb' app

Apple is anti-consumer, indulging in data colonisation, says Trai: The Times of India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is providing us with the latest example of this shortcoming, and the group is taking Apple to task over its refusal to allow a custom-made do-not-call app to be installed on iOS devices sold in the country.

The Trai through the paper plans to define personal data and who should have ownership and control when a customer uses telecom services.

Even as Trai's consultation paper would look at privacy and security of data only in the context of the telecom sector, a broader project to deliberate on data protection laws is being worked on by a Committee of Experts headed by Justice BN Srikrishna, which was constituted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on July 31.

The Trai will come out with recommendations and in the case of sovereign power, security and licencing issues, it will suggest Department of Telecommunications to take a call on the matter. As per an official, the authority has been working on the paper for the past couple of months as now there are no guidelines regarding the use of data by third party entities and also who owns the data.

Apple's concerns appear to be privacy-related, allowing access to data now limited to stock apps.

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TRAI consultation paper released on August 9 focused on privacy, security and ownership of the data in the telecom sector. Consumers typically underestimate the value of personal data and the impact of agreeing to share it, while service providers benefit by acquiring and holding such data, it said. It also sought views on new capabilities to be granted to consumers over the use of personal data.

Trai Chairman R S Sharma said the question is who owns data like call logs and messages that a user receives on his/her mobile, and whether third-party entities can actually "extinguish" the users' right over such data.

Q. 2 In light of recent advances in technology, what changes, if any, are recommended to the definition of personal data?

What are the key issues of data protection pertaining to the collection and use of data by various other stakeholders in the digital ecosystem, including content and application service providers, device manufacturers, operating systems, browsers, etc? "How can you take away my right over my own data?"

Trai's consultation paper appears to be triggered by iPhone maker Apple, which is yet to allow the regulator's Do-Not-Disturb app to be listed on its App Store. "While data privacy and data security are very important issues, there is also a fundamental issue about data ownership over here". This includes the provision of telecom and Internet services by telecom and Internet service providers (TSPs) as well the other devices, networks and applications that connect with users through the services offered by TSPs and collect and control user data in that process.

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