Germany Passes Law Forcing Apple to Open Up iPhone's NFC Chip to Apple Pay Rivals, But Loophole May Exist
A parliamentary committee in Germany on Wednesday passed an amendment to an anti-money laundering law that would force Apple to open up the NFC chip in iPhones to competing mobile payment providers, according to Reuters. The report claims the law is set to come into effect early next year.
In a statement to Reuters, Apple said it was "surprised" about the sudden decision and expressed security concerns.
"We are surprised at how suddenly this legislation was introduced," an Apple spokesperson said. "We fear that the draft law could be harmful to user friendliness, data protection and the security of financial information."
As noted by German financial website Finanz-Szene, however, there appears to be a provision in the law that could allow Apple to keep the NFC chip locked down. Specifically, it appears that Apple might be able to argue that opening up the NFC chip would put the security of its customers at risk.
A rough translation of the passage:
Exceptionally, the system undertaking is not required to comply with paragraph 1 if there are reasonable grounds for refusal to make the provision available. These exist, in particular, if the system undertaking can demonstrate that the safety and integrity of the technical infrastructure services is specifically jeopardized by the provision of such facilities. The rejection must be reasonably justified.
Earlier this month, the European Union's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager acknowledged that her department has received "many concerns" over Apple Pay and potential anticompetitive issues. Australia's big banks have also sought open access to the NFC chip on the iPhone in recent years.