Apple allows TRAI’s DND app, but denies access to call logs

iPhone users can look forward to reporting spam messages and calls with ease as Apple’s new operating system iOS12 offers enabling provisions that allow third-party do-not-disturb (DND) apps to work on its handsets.

The Cupertino-headquartered company has, however, not allowed access to call records and message logs of an iPhone user to such apps that aim to block unsolicited commercial communication (UCC). Trai had demanded targeted reporting of spam from Apple, especially after the telecom regulator’s in-house DND app had been given access to a customer’s call and message log by Google’s ubiquitous operating system Android.

Apple says the company is mindful of the concerns of the regulator in blocking spam, and the latest operating system provides ways to report them.

The company’s method to block spam gives control in the hands of the users in line with its focus on ensuring privacy of customers. Broadly, a user will have the option to report a spam through the call records, or messaging logs. Whenever a user identifies a number or a message as spam, he/she can mark the same as junk, following which a pop-up will highlight DND apps (downloaded for the purpose), which enable their blocking, or reporting to authorities.

For the Trai app to work, specific changes would need to be incorporated in it that will enable it to work within Apple’s operating system.

Apple and Trai have been in touch over the issue and the matter is nearing resolution.

However, the enabling provision for incorporating the working of spam apps is part of a global comprehensive update, which means that the same facility can be deployed by third-party apps in other countries across the world.

Apple did not allow specific permission for the app to gain access to the entire call and messaging log of a customer as it would violate its privacy norms. It feels that the control of access to the logs has to be only with the user.

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