A letter by Apple’s Senior Director of Government Affairs Timothy Powderly sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee says that bills forcing the company to make changes to the App Store would be harmful to consumers.
In the letter, Powderly says that the bill would reward and empower bad actors to target users with malware and ransomware easily. He further adds that it would become “nearly impossible” to protect the privacy of consumers from scammers and allow them to circumvent all of Apple’s safety and security measures in the App Store. This would be possible because the bill would force Apple to enable “sideloading” of apps.
Apple has already been forced to make several changes to the App Store following regulatory pressure worldwide. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act and Open Markets Act will soon go up for debate in the US. If passed, it could force the company to allow sideloading of apps on the iPhone and iPad, which could spell doom for the platform’s security and privacy measures.
The bills put consumers in harm’s way because of the real risk of privacy and security breaches. In addition to making privacy and security protections nearly impossible to defend, the bills would actually allow predators and scammers to side-step Apple’s privacy and security protections completely. This circumvention is possible because the bills would mandate “sideloading,” or the direct installation of software from the internet in a way that circumvents the privacy and security protections Apple has designed, including human review of every app and every app update.
Additionally, the company says the bill would be a “big win” for bad actors and developers who collect and sell user data. It would put “millions of Americans” at risk as they could install such apps and suffer malware or ransomware risk.
Among other things, the bills would undo much of the progress Congress has made bolstering American competitiveness, rebuilding supply chains, and encouraging domestic manufacturing by instead codifying a structural advantage for foreign competitors in the vibrant technology sector.
The iPhone maker says that it wants to work with the Committee to address all the anti-competitive claims against the App Store while still protecting the privacy and security of its users.