Europeans are joining forces in an attempt to block iCloud Private Relay – a feature that Apple introduced in iOS and iPadOS 15 to strengthen its privacy protection. It seems that some have already started disabling it on mobile plans.
The group, which includes Vodafone and T-Mobile, has signed an open letter saying Private Relay is preventing them from getting “essential network data” and will affect their ability to “effectively manage telecommunications networks.”
iCloud Private Relay problem for European operators
iCloud Private Relay, which is currently in beta and must be activated manually on iPhone, iPad and Mac, is designed to hide your internet browsing habits so no one – not even Apple – can see the websites you visit within Safari.
Concealing this information makes it difficult for companies to track your interests and build profiles that can be used to serve targeted ads. It seems to be working well, and some operators are not happy about it.
The Telegraph reports that a group of European operators, including Vodafone, T-Mobile and Telefonica – which owns brands such as O2 in the UK – have signed an open letter opposing Private Relay on the iPhone and iPad.
The letter claims that Private Relay, similar to VPN, prevents operators from collecting data that they say is vital to maintaining a stable and efficient network. They also say it undermines “European digital sovereignty”.
Some are already disabling Private Relay
Some carriers, including O2, have already filed complaints with regulators. Others have begun disabling Private Relay when browsing the web using their mobile data package, according to a message seen by some users.
“Your mobile phone plan does not support iCloud Private Relay,” reads the message in iOS. “With private relay off, this network can monitor your Internet activity, and your IP address is not hidden from known searchers or websites.”
It is unclear why operators are so upset if they have the ability to disable Private Relay on their networks. And if that bothers you, you can always use a more traditional VPN to show them who the boss is.
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