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Spat between Apple & India over 'Do Not Disturb' app could lead to new data rules

The impasse between Apple and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India over the country's "Do Not Disturb" app could be swung by future rules that would force Apple to allow it, a report suggested on Wednesday.

The TRAI is currently asking for public and stakeholder comments on a paper over user control of personal data, as well as data flow through networks, Bloomberg said. The process should finish later this month, and could eventually result in new rules and licensing arrangements.

Personal data is the primary reason Apple has yet to allow the app on the App Store. While the Android version can access SMS and call logs for sharing phone numbers with the TRAI, Apple's rules prevent third-party software from having that kind of access, even with user consent.

Talking to Bloomberg, TRAI chairman Ram Sewak Sharma argued that Apple's policies allow sharing user data with affiliates and strategic partners, and that Do Not Disturb would require only pre-approved sharing of a limited amount of information.

"Nobody's asking Apple to violate its privacy policy," said Sharma. "It is a ridiculous situation, no company can be allowed to be the guardian of a user's data."

Sharma noted that the government has met with Apple six times on the matter without progress.

"The problem of who controls user data is getting acute and we have to plug the loose ends," he added. "This is not the regulator versus Apple, but Apple versus its own users."