T-Mobile may bill itself the “Un-carrier” that puts customers’ needs first, but its latest move is a little more “Big Brother” as it begins blocking iOS Private Relay.
Apple included Private Relay (still in beta) in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey. The feature is similar to a VPN in that it “hides your IP address and browsing activity in Safari and protects your unencrypted internet traffic.”
Given that it bills itself as putting customers first, and given it has suffered a number of high-profile hacks, one could be forgiven for thinking T-Mobile would welcome a feature that better protects its users’ privacy. Unfortunately, one would be mistaken.
First noticed by Mac user Jon Guidry, it appears T-Mobile is taking a page from European carriers and is starting to block Private Relay in the US.
”@TMobileHelp What the hey? Why are you keeping us from using @Apple’s #icloud private relay?”
— Jon Guidry (@guidryjd), January 10, 2022
9to5Mac has confirmed that T-Mobile is indeed moving to block the feature, although it hasn’t completed its efforts, meaning Private Relay may still work for some US users.
In March 2021, we wrote about T-Mobile opting customers into a targeted advertising program that would use their data to deliver personalized ads. The carrier also said it would sell that data to third-party companies as well.
It seems clear, based on its attempt to block Private Relay, that T-Mobile doesn’t want anything interfering with its data mining operation. Evidently, it’s not enough to actually charge for a service, and deliver one record quarter after another. The company evidently believes it has the right to mine data from its paying customers, and will stop at nothing to block attempts to prevent it from doing just that.
John Legere used to famously refer to Verizon and AT&T as “dumb and dumber.” Perhaps T-Mobile should start lumping itself into that category too.