India cracks down on pre-installed apps under new smartphone security rules
India plans to force smartphone makers such as Apple to allow pre-installed apps to be removed and operating system updates to be scanned under proposed new security rules. Reuters.
Under the new rules, smartphone makers will have to include an uninstall option for pre-installed apps, and new models will be checked for compliance by a laboratory authorized by the Bureau of Indian Standards, according to people familiar with the plan.
Apple already allows you to delete many of its own apps, but core apps like Messages, Photos, and Phone can’t be uninstalled.
According to sources in the report, India’s IT ministry is considering the rules due to concerns about spying and misuse of user data, specifically citing the risk from China.
“Pre-installed apps can be a security weak point and we want to ensure that they are not exploited by foreign countries, including China,” said an unnamed official. “This is a matter of national security.”
Since the border clash with China in 2022, India has banned more than 300 Chinese apps in the country, including TikTok. In addition, it closely controls the investments of Chinese companies.
According to documents seen by the government Reutersa closed-door meeting was attended by representatives from Xiaomi, Samsung, Apple and Vivo to discuss the plan.
The government is said to be giving smartphone makers a year to comply with the rules when they come into force, but there are fears they could delay the deadline for new smartphones to be launched and lead to business losses. Currently, it takes about 21 weeks for India’s IT ministry to test a smartphone and its components for security compliance.
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