Apple was boosted on Wednesday because France’s antitrust watchdog rejected an advertiser’s request to suspend the iPhone maker’s upcoming privacy features, but Apple still faces an investigation into whether it unfairly favors its products and services.
Apple’s new “App Tracking Transparency” feature allows users to prevent advertisers from tracking them across different applications.
The American tech giant said it defends data privacy rights but has faced criticism from Facebook, app developers and startups whose business models rely on ad tracking.
The French IAB French organization, MMAF, SRI and UDECAM filed a complaint with French regulators last year, saying that the feature will not affect Apple’s ability to send targeted advertisements to its iOS software users without its prior consent.
Supervisor Isabelle de Silva said that she worked closely with the French CNIL data privacy regulator and decided to reject the request to suspend the function.
She said that CNIL estimates that the pop-up boxes installed by Apple can benefit users in an increasingly complex online advertising environment and are presented in a clear and unbiased manner in accordance with the requirements of EU GDPR data protection rules.
De Silva said that these regulations seriously affected the watchdog’s decision because the authorities violated the recommendations of their investigators, who agreed to suspend Apple’s privacy features.
The chief investigator even mentioned the “risk of money laundering,” De Silva said, or the possibility of Apple defending privacy is in appearance rather than substance.
She said: “There may be acts of laundering privacy. We are not naive.” “However, GDPR is binding on us. As a member of the European legal system, I believe everyone must take this into consideration.”
The regulator still said that it will continue to investigate whether Apple prefers its services and products, and make a decision by the beginning of next year at the latest.
Apple has not immediately commented on de Silva’s remarks, but said in a statement that it welcomes the decision by regulators that the “application tracking transparency” feature is in the best interests of French customers.
The complainants stated that they were disappointed by the decision, but welcomed an investigation into Apple’s actions.
They claim that Apple’s actions constitute an abuse of its dominant position, because developers must agree to Apple’s terms to see their apps appear in the company’s App Store and available to iPhone users.
According to the data of researcher Mediametrie, by 2020, two-thirds of French people’s online shopping time will be on smartphones.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Mark Zuckerberg) earlier this year accused Apple of “motivated them to use their dominant platform position to interfere with the way our apps and other apps work”.
Thomson Reuters 2021 ©
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