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Apple could block Facebook apps from using VoIP in the background

By Polycount · 6 replies
Aug 6, 2019
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  1. This block will be part of Apple's next big smartphone OS update, iOS 13, according to The Information. iOS 13 is expected to arrive sometime this fall, and it will be bringing a host of other features and improvements to the popular mobile OS (including a long-requested dark mode).

    The primary reason for Apple's decision to block VOIP from functioning in the background relates to privacy fears, as hinted at before. Apple worries that apps like the Facebook-owned Messenger and WhatsApp could collect user data if they're allowed to run the protocol at all times.

    Facebook, for its part, has distanced itself from this idea. "The changes to the upcoming iOS releases are not insignificant, but we are in conversations with Apple on how best to address. To be clear—we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data," a company spokesman told The Information.

    "To be clear—we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data,"

    Whether or not you take the company at its word is up to you. Of course, it is worth noting that this is far from the first time Facebook has tangled with privacy woes -- the social media giant's notorious Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal is still discussed to this day.

    At any rate, as the company noted in the above quote, Facebook is currently talking with Apple to find a solution to the dilemma. Until that occurs, though, you may wish to delay updating to iOS 13 if the ability to run VOIP functionality in the background is important to you.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 147   +38

    I hope this isn’t all VoIP applications. I use my iPad mini as a backup phone with the T-Mobile Digits app, which is probably considered VoIP. I may have to say “no” to Apple once and for all if this becomes the case....
     
  3. SirDigby

    SirDigby TS Evangelist Posts: 513   +180

    I don't understand how a VOIP API could be used to collect user data? Essentially in the background a VOIP app is registering with the service, maybe status tagging (Available, away, busy etc.) but that's it?
    I literally work for a VOIP service in the UK and we have a branded semi-custom app from BroadSoft which Apple don't have any issue with...
     
  4. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,363   +1,001

    I trust Apple with my security far more than I'll ever trust Smuckerberg, Facebook, Instragram, What'sapp or his government spy handlers.
     
    PEnnn likes this.
  5. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,235   +691

    Because it could send out a VoIP stream. Think of it like leaving the phone off the hook - only instead of prevent calls, like back in the days, you do that in case you want to accept calls.

    The work around is have the apps active the VoIP in the foreground via another protocol whenever you are about to receive a connection request. A single incoming data packet will be more private than a continuous two-way data stream in the background.
     
  6. SirDigby

    SirDigby TS Evangelist Posts: 513   +180

    Defacto VOIP protocol is SIP, and its incredibly bizarre to have the VOIP stream up all day, only time I have seen it is with a call centre, so call from customer A goes into call center B as a new call every time, but when call centre agent C logs into the call centre it maintains a media stream between B and C until they log out, and then the call centre software bridges the media for A and C.

    It's a really inefficient use of network resources as media is the most costly part of the network (with exception of SBCs).

    I'd love to hear why Apple doesn't want to allow them!
     
  7. PEnnn

    PEnnn TS Addict Posts: 118   +104

    "we (Facebook) are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data," a company spokesman told The Information."

    Hahahahahahahaha!! Good one, $chmuckerberg!!
     
    Odium likes this.

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