Apple is facing criticism over the use of its iPhone in many public places.
But when you’re inside a car, or when you use an iPhone in a public area, it’s not so clear.
In Australia, the Federal Government announced on Wednesday it will introduce legislation to make it illegal to use an Apple device in a carpark or on a public footpath, and to make public transport operators liable for any damages caused.
The legislation is the latest in a series of government moves aimed at protecting public health and safety from electronic devices, including by giving the Federal Court the power to order a defendant to remove electronic devices from public places when the device has been deemed to be causing “significant harm”.
The legislation also includes a prohibition on public places including the CBD and CBD roads being used for public transport, including for public entertainment or to facilitate events.
The Federal Government said that while the legislation will be enforced by the Police Service of Northern Territory, the courts will be able to apply the ban to any public place that contains a “robust system of signage and warning measures to deter the public from using electronic devices”.
Apple has argued that the new legislation will allow people to be able use their iPhones in public without the need to obtain a ticket, and that the legislation is needed to ensure the public have confidence in public transport.
“We’re committed to making the world a safer place by reducing the risks of disease, injury and death from using, or exposing others to, electronic devices,” said Tim Cook in a statement.
“In light of recent public health studies that show people can reduce their risk of disease by using an iPhone while driving, and in light of a growing awareness of the risks posed by the spread of EVAs, we are taking this matter very seriously and are making the necessary changes to make sure we continue to work towards making public transport safer for all Australians.”
Mr Cook also said Apple will make its own plans for how it will comply with the legislation, and he said Apple would work closely with the police to ensure people can safely use their phones on public transport.
“Apple is committed to the protection of the public and the use and enjoyment of all devices, whether in our products or our apps, from any device that is used for any purpose, including but not limited to public transport,” Mr Cook said.
“Our products and services are designed to enable people to do all they can with any device they choose, including using our products in public.”