British carriers demand to regulate Apple’s anti-competitive iCloud Private Relay

A group of British network operators has formally urged the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to regulate iCloud Private Relay, claiming that Apple’s privacy service is anti-competitive, may be detrimental to users, and is harmful to the country.

In response to the CMA’s interim report on the mobile ecosystem, Mobile UK, the trade association for UK mobile network operators (including EE, Virgin Media O2, Three and Vodafone), raised concerns that iCloud Private Relay Safety and competition negatively impact.

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iCloud Private Relay is a new service introduced by Apple in iOS 15. When this option is enabled, the user’s real IP address will not be displayed to third-party servers, and service providers will not be able to track user information on the Internet.

However, Mobile UK said that Private Relay will direct users to more Apple services, allowing users to access the Internet in the way Apple plans.

Mobile UK also said that Private Relay “impacts mobile browser competition “, stressing that due to limitations in Apple’s WebKit browser engine, rival browsers cannot avoid Private Relay, reducing the incentive for users to switch browsers.

Besides, the UK network operator said Private Relay allegedly breached “content filtering, malware, anti-fraud and phishing protection provided by network providers”.

Mobile UK also claims Private Relay poses a national security threat because it “undermines the insight of government investigations and has implications for law enforcement”.

Mobile UK urges the CMA to implement a ” restricted use of Private Relay ” remedy or prevent Apple from making Private Relay the default service.

The complaint pointed out that Private Relay is currently turned off by default, but a large number of Apple users in the UK have chosen to turn it on.

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