The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's DND 2.0 spam reporting app has been taken down from the Apple App Store. After months of fighting attempts by authorities to grant the app access to users' entire message and phone logs, Apple created a workaround in 2018 that allowed the app to function without such bulk access. The app was the outcome of one of Apple's most important legal battles with the regulator. Though the iOS version of the software was taken down from the App Store and TRAI's website at some time between April and August of this year, Entrackr discovered. Who removed the app—Apple or TRAI—is not entirely clear. Apps that go three years without an update will be withdrawn from the App Store, Apple declared in April.
Information Regarding the Removal of the App
According to an Entrackr report, DND 2.0 was created to address a problem that TRAI, particularly under the chairperson of RS Sharma, had been working diligently to address in 2017. In 2010, TRAI established a process for reporting SMS spam and implemented rules to guarantee that consumer complaints were addressed within a few days.
However, up until 2016, the only option to report spam was to manually send an SMS to a TRAI-designated short code, including the message's text and the sender's name or phone number. Since TRAI believed there should be a simpler method, it introduced the DND app. At that time, the software generated and sent the reporting SMS by automatically retrieving a user's entire SMS inbox and call logs. Apple, however, considers this technique to be an unacceptable invasion of customer privacy and does not permit any developer to obtain consumers' whole call or message logs for any reason. Sharma was incensed by the posture. In an interview, he argued that "no company can be allowed to be the guardian of a user's data.”
The percentage of phones sold and used in India in 2017 that were iOS devices at the time was a small minority, as it still is now. TRAI nevertheless used a substantial amount of its regulatory authority to exert pressure on Apple to approve the app. A meeting may have taken place in 2018 when Apple offered to have its technical team meet with TRAI representatives to clarify its position. The Draft Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018, which TRAI recommended in response to its unhappiness, would have effectively killed Apple's operations in India. A clause that would have prohibited the sale of any phones in India that couldn't operate the DND app was included in the draft text.
Users could now choose specific texts from their message logs without having to first give a copy of all of their conversations to another app, thanks to changes made by Apple in its iOS 12 release that allowed developers to create an SMS reporting extension for the iPhone Messages app.
Given that this extension seems to have been created solely to put out a regulatory fire in India, TRAI is one of the few organisations to have adopted it. It seemed to be happy enough with the decision to release the extension on iOS and move past the problem—until it vanished from the App Store this year.