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What is Private Relay, and why do European operators want it to be banned?

Andy Vilchez
3 min read
What is Private Relay, and why do European operators want it to be banned?
Apple's Private Relay, an alternative to maintain your privacy on the network.

For everyone, privacy on the Internet is one of those things that worry a lot, but that many companies try to violate. Surely you have ever done a search on Google and soon after suspiciously advertising begins to appear about what you looked for.

This is not a coincidence, companies track your activity to "give you a better experience."

There are applications that are responsible for ensuring the best possible for your privacy so that you can navigate safely. One of them is Private Relay, an Apple application in charge of protecting your privacy when you browse the internet.

At first glance it is a very useful application that should not have something wrong. However, in Europe there is a whole scandal related to it, since many telecommunications operators want this application to be banned.

What is Private Relay?

What is Private Relay, and why do European operators want it to be banned?
Private Relay works like a VPN directly in the browser.

This is a bet that Apple to protect users who have a device of the brand with iOS 15. This application is responsible for masking user activity while using the Safari browser.

This is a feature that is already included within the operating system and is very easy to use.

This works as a VPN connection that encrypts all user activity and runs it through Apple-designated servers. This allows the user to be untraceable as it acts as a proxy.

This means that the web pages cannot know the real IP address of the user. This is a problem for many companies that cannot track user activity and "trade it in."

Operators against Private Relay

What is Private Relay, and why do European operators want it to be banned?
European operators are against Private Relay.

Since the feature appeared on Apple devices, several European carriers have spoken out against it. They have even asked that the use of it be prohibited, since according to the companies, this characteristic affects them.

As has been learned, the operators allege that this characteristic has serious consequences for European digital sovereignty. Operators such as Orange, T-Mobile, Telefónica and Vodafone are some of those who expressed their dissatisfaction.

All of them expressed their concern, since according to what they announced, this could make it difficult to manage the networks on the continent. As we mentioned, this feature works like a VPN network, so in theory, carriers should also attack them.

However, it has only been Private Relay that has been the target of criticism, probably this is because it is really easy to use unlike a VPN. This has made millions of users around the world have decided to use it.

Limitations when accessing data networks

What is Private Relay, and why do European operators want it to be banned?
Private Relay deactivation message.

As has been learned, there are some operators that have begun to block this function on their networks.

Users who have experienced this when trying to connect to their operator's mobile network have encountered a message indicating that Private Relay has been deactivated.

This has only been happening with mobile data and some carriers. Wi-Fi connections still allow connection through Apple's Private Relay.

These measures have been taken unilaterally by the service providers. Obviously it is a violation of both privacy and the right of people to use the application they want.

So far no government body has spoken, in the same way, Apple has not done so either.

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