Indian government seeks answers from Apple on iOS security

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Mumbai, India

India’s government says Apple hasn’t provided nearly enough information about a hack warning that popped up on iPhones in 2023.

In October, Apple warned independent journalists and opposition politicians in India of possible government hacking attempts. Indian government officials responded by targeting Apple instead of addressing the hacking concerns.

Officials demanded to know why the attacks happened and had asked Apple two “simple questions” in an attempt to find the answer, according to Times of India.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics, said that the government had asked Apple if its devices are secure and, if so, why was the alert sent to opposition members.

“In my view, no proprietary platform will fully admit to having vulnerabilities in their platform. There’s a tendency in any platform to deny the existence of vulnerabilities,” he said.

Allegedly, Apple did not provide satisfactory answers.

“They’ve provided a number of clarifications, including one on the same day stating that this has nothing to do with a state actor,” Chandrasekhar said. “But we pushed them further: if it has nothing to do with a state actor, then what is this notification?”

Chandrasekhar notes that this is a problem as the Indian government doesn’t have the necessary expertise to understand what goes on under the hood of an iPhone.

“We certainly don’t have the R&D (research and development) capability in the government to understand what’s in the iOS and what’s not, and Apple certainly isn’t going to disclose its proprietary technology to us. So we contacted them,” Chandrasekhar added.

The conflict between Apple and the Modi government underscores the challenges faced by Silicon Valley in India. Apple considers India to be a crucial market and has been careful not to offend the Indian government, which is aiming to attract major manufacturers like Apple to boost economic growth.

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