Mobile network operators have a lot in common with waterworks: they provide the infrastructure and the hardware that runs everything.

What the customer actually does with his water or his data is none of their business.

Whether they drink water or use it to make coffee should be just as irrelevant to them as whether a mobile phone customer uses their data volume to watch YouTube films or read news sites.

Infrastructure is one thing, content and applications are another.

The networks must remain neutral.

Unfortunately, European mobile operators don't see it that way.

They continually violate the ironclad principle of net neutrality, and just how much data they steal from their customers is now being shown when European mobile operators are asking the EU to ban Apple's "iCloud Private Relay".

The latter is a type of VPN that protects users' privacy, keeps internet activity private and obfuscates the IP address.

Mobile operators should actually be happy about this gain in security.

In fact, they say Apple is cutting them off from accessing essential data and metadata.

The corresponding letter to the EU is, with its startling openness, almost a self-disclosure.

Privacy advocates and public prosecutors!