Upcoming EU Sideloading Bill Would 'Cripple the Privacy and Security Protections' iPhone Users Expect, Says Apple

The European Union is set to introduce new legislation as soon as this month that would significantly affect how the App Store operates in Europe, reports The Wall Street Journal.

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue
The Digital Markets Act has been in development for some time and the finalized version that could be completed as soon as this month will allow for sideloading and alternate app store options. Apple will be required to allow customers in Europe to download apps outside of the app stores, and it will also allow developers to use alternate purchase methods.

Failure to comply with the law could cost Apple tens of billions of dollars, and Apple's efforts to fight the act have been unsuccessful. Back in November, Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi said that the sideloading mandated by the Digital Markets Act would open the "floodgates" to malware. The legislation would, said Federighi, "take away [the] choice of a more secure platform."

In a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal, Apple shared a similar sentiment.

Governments and international agencies world-wide have explicitly advised against sideloading requirements, which would cripple the privacy and security protections that users have come to expect."

European officials have been unswayed by Apple's privacy and security-related arguments, and in July, European Union digital competition chief Margrethe Vestager said that Apple should not use privacy excuses to limit competition. "Customers will not give up neither security nor privacy if they use another app store or if they sideload," she said.

The full scope of the sideloading provision in the bill is not yet known as final language could give Apple some room to limit the scope of sideloading. After the bill is finalized, it will be approved by the parliament and member states, and it would take effect early next year.

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Top Rated Comments

zorinlynx Avatar
31 months ago
Apple should give its customers more credit. Nobody is forcing anyone to sideload. I sure as hell won't, except for maybe a couple of video game system emulators.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UndefinedxJoker Avatar
31 months ago
Enough Apple! Mac is fine with side loading and the iPhone will be too. With all the profits you make on iPhones alone I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thekeyring Avatar
31 months ago
I assume the same requirements will also apply to Xbox, Switch and PlayStation?
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordDeath Avatar
31 months ago
In my opinion, this is still the best take about App Stores and Apple's implied security risks on "sideloading": https://world.hey.com/dhh/the-mac-proves-apple-can-safely-open-the-iphone-cfa68a72

Here is my favorite part:

The fact is that the iPhone is already a considerably more secure device than even the Mac! Apps run in a tighter sandbox, and everything is far more locked down than traditional computers. This is where the defense against malware rests, along with the kill-switch power to nix any app that exploit novel vulnerabilities to escape detection up front.

The only thing these technical defenses can't guard against is business model threats. That's why Apple employs thousands of people in the App Store review department without any technical or security qualifications! Because they're not there to uncover security threats, only threats to the faucet of monopoly rents. And they're very good at that, because even when they fail to detect a scam, Apple still takes a cut ('https://world.hey.com/dhh/apple-is-an-accomplice-to-fraud-b4197da7'). It's win-win for Apple, lose-lose for consumers and developers.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shirasaki Avatar
31 months ago
Yeah, sometimes, it’s really not up to Apple to decide.
Still waiting for Apple to turn off sideloading on macOS.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dumastudetto Avatar
31 months ago
The innocent victims in all this will be us AAPL shareholders. If governments continue interfering with Apple’s world-leading services business, it will really make it difficult to drive the never-ending growth we need in revenues and profit.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)