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Some telcos ask the EU to block an Apple privacy tool

Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have asked the European Commission to prevent a new Apple privacy functionality (Private Relay) from being implemented in Europe, which prevents operators from accessing vital data on the network and could “undermine European digital sovereignty”. To this end, the heads of these companies, José María Álvarez-Pallete (Telefónica), Nick Read (Vodafone), Stéphane Richard (Orange) and Timotheus Höttges (Deutsche Telekom), have sent a letter to the Executive Vice President of the European Commission , Margrethe Vestager, and the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton.

In the letter, to which the EFE Agency had access on Tuesday and which has been advanced by the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, refer to a new functionality implemented by Apple, called Private Relay, which is designed to protect privacy by encrypting data in order to avoid knowing where the user is browsing. This new encryption functionality from Apple prevents other networks and servers from accessing vital network data and metadata, including operators in charge of connectivity.

Concern about this new feature

Those responsible for these four operators point out in the letter that they agree “fully” with Apple regarding the importance of privacy, but are concerned about the way in which the American tech giant intends to implement it. They consider that this new privacy function will prevent other players from innovating and competing in digital markets and, on the other hand, will negatively affect the capacity of operators to efficiently manage telecommunications.

In addition, they warn that this new function will lead to a weakening of the capacity of the European institutions to enforce the law and preserve values. This letter is dated August 19, but it transpired on the eve of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU beginning to negotiate on Tuesday the final text of the future law on digital markets that will regulate free competition between large technology companies in the single european market, with the intention of coming into effect next year.

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