Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has repeatedly warned against forcing the iPhone’s operating system open – and therefore against bypassing the App Store, thanks to which Apple now earns billions. The move will allow malicious actors to circumvent extensive security measures implemented by Apple, Cook said Tuesday in Washington.
DMA worries Apple
The leader of the group was speaking at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) data protection conference and notably opposed the new European law on digital markets (Digital Markets Act, DMA), discussed at the end of March by EU Member State negotiators and agreed by the European Parliament.
Cook pointed out that Apple is in favor of data protection regulation and also welcomed the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). “But we are deeply concerned about regulations that would undermine privacy and security in the service of other goals.” In Washington and elsewhere, policymakers have taken action “in the name of competition” that would force Apple to allow apps on the iPhone that bypass the App Store through a process called sideloading.
Cook: Other more dangerous platforms
The Apple CEO spoke of putting users at risk on other platforms such as Android, where programs can also be installed outside of Google’s app stores. Early in the coronavirus pandemic, there were reports of people downloading seemingly legitimate COVID-19 tracking apps only to infect their devices with ransomware. “These victims were not iPhone users, as the system directly targeted those who could install apps from sites that circumvented App Store protections.”
However, Apple has also had issues with malware through external channels in the past – although these have used Apple methods such as the Testflight beta environment or the ability to install company software controlled by Apple. DMA proponents say opening app markets will also help limit the power of big internet companies and ensure fairer competition. The agreement still needs to be confirmed by the Council of States and the European Parliament, but this is considered a formality. (with dpa material)