Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), took aim at proposed antitrust regulations in the United States and Europe, claiming that they would compromise the privacy and security of iPhone users.
Regulators’ efforts to force Apple to allow iPhone users the option to install apps from the web, known as sideloading, could result in users being tricked into installing malware that steals data, Cook warned at the Global Privacy Summit in Washington.
On Android, where sideloading is currently permitted, Cook cited reports of malicious Android apps.
For the time being, Apple’s App Store is the only place where iPhone users can get software updates and apps for their devices.
Cook stated that the App Store’s vetting process could be bypassed if regulations were to be implemented, reducing user security.
This comment by Cook reveals Apple’s strategy of easing sideloading requirements in the pending antitrust regulation by emphasising user risks.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has invoked security concerns to argue against regulatory restrictions on its App Store offerings.
Earlier this year, an Apple official warned lawmakers that sideloading could put millions of Americans at risk of malware attacks on their smartphones..
As CNBC quotes Apple CEO Tim Cook, “Policymakers in Washington and elsewhere are taking steps in the name of competition that would force Apple to allow apps on iPhones that circumvent the App Store via a process known as sideloading.”
“That means that data-hungry companies would be able to circumvent our privacy policies and once again track our users against their will.”
When asked about specific legislation, Apple CEO Tim Cook did not mention it. But the Open App Markets Act, which was introduced in August, specifically targets Apple and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google’s App Stores.
If the law is passed, companies will be forced to use sideloading.
The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February and Congress will continue to discuss it this year.
The Digital Markets Act, aimed at large technology firms, was recently approved by the European Union. Sideloading has been included in early versions of the Act, but it hasn’t been finalised.