The European Union is considering new rules that would likely require Apple to give third parties access to the NFC chip inside iPhones. The new laws would prevent mobile device manufacturers from limiting access to near-field communication technology embedded in smartphones and other devices such as smartwatches, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. Since launching NFC in the iPhone in 2014, Apple has limited the chip to its own Apple Pay service
NFC technology handles wireless signals that allow users to pay via their devices at store terminals, rather than a credit or debit card. While the report did not mention Apple by name, at present iPhone and Apple Watch users can only make NFC payments using Apple Pay. Banks and other competitors have complained they want the same functionality for their own iPhone apps and that Apple won’t give them access to the chip.
The report is set to be unveiled next week by the European Commission as part of a package of policy proposals. It includes a footnote to a competition case launched by the European Commission’s antitrust arm in June, which is seeking to assess whether the iPhone giant unfairly blocks other providers from using the tap-and-go functionality on its smartphones.
“In parallel with its ongoing and future competition enforcement, the Commission will examine whether it is appropriate to propose legislation aimed at securing a right of access under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions, to technical infrastructures considered necessary to support the provision of payment services,” the EU says in the document.
MacDailyNews Take: The EU should not attempt to force Apple to open full access to iPhone’s NFC chip. Protecting iOS users’ security and privacy is paramount.