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India pressured Apple over state-sponsored warnings, report says | TechCrunch

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Apple’s warnings in late October that Indian journalists and opposition figures may have been targets of state-sponsored attacks sparked a forceful counterattack from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Officials publicly doubted Apple’s findings and announced an investigation into the security of the devices.

Behind closed doors, senior officials in the Modi administration went further, demanding that Apple tone down the political impact of its warnings, the Washington Post reports. Senior officials summoned Apple representatives to insist that they provide alternative explanations, even going so far as to bring in an Apple security expert to meet with department leaders, the report added.

The pressure campaign upset Apple executives in California but produced only limited results, the report added. While Apple India officials initially helped cast doubt on the alerts – issuing a statement saying in part that it was possible some notifications were false alarms – the company has not issued any follow-up statements for appease the authorities after the expert’s visit.

The report adds:

The recent episode also illustrates the dangers facing government critics in India and efforts to Indian digital rights groups, industry workers and journalists say the Modi administration will work to dispel suspicions that it has engaged in hacking against its perceived enemies.

Of the 20 or so people who received Apple’s warnings in late October, many were publicly informed. criticism of Modi or his longtime ally, Gautam Adani, an Indian energy and infrastructure tycoon. They included a firebrand politician from West Bengal state, a communist leader from southern India and a New Delhi-based spokesperson for the country’s government. the largest opposition party.

For Apple, maintaining its commitment to user security took priority over the risks of growing its business in India. Apple, which opened two official stores in India this year, plans to move 25% of iPhone production to India by 2025, according to analysts at JP Morgan. But the confrontation revealed Modi’s desire to tighten the screws on Big Tech.

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