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Apple Privacy Chief Says New Bill Could “Destroy iPhone As You Know It”

 |  February 11, 2021

A bill has been introduced in the North Dakota State Senate that could ban app storefronts (via The Verge). That would mean that Apple would have to remove the App Store from the iPhone, the iPad, the Apple Watch, and the iPod Touch. The bill, number 2333, seeks to remove those app stores like Apple’s App Store that demand developers use only their in-app payment platform. 

State Sen. Kyle Davison (Republican – Fargo) introduced the bill Tuesday, February 9, before a Senate committee. During a press conference, Sen. Davison said, “The purpose of the bill is to level the playing field for app developers in North Dakota and protect customers from devastating, monopolistic fees imposed by big tech companies.”  Davison believes that the 30% cut of in-app revenue garnered by Apple and Google ends up “raising prices and limiting choices for consumers.”

Apple already testified against the bill on Tuesday in a hearing with North Dakota’s Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee. Apple’s chief privacy engineer, Erik Neuenschwander, told the committee that the bill “threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it.” The law would “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into the iPhone by design. Simply put, we work hard to keep bad apps out of the App Store; (the bill) could require us to let them in.”

The bill requires that any “digital application distribution platform” taking in more than US$10 million a year in revenue will need to adhere to certain restrictions. For example, if the bill becomes state law, in North Dakota Apple would have to allow users to sideload apps from a third-party app store, something that the tech giant currently does not allow. 

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