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Apple hit with french watchdog complaint over use of advertising data

Apple Inc. was hit with a complaint from the French antitrust watchdog over allegations it has imposed unfair conditions for the use of user data in advertising through its app store

Apple, Apple Inc

Apple is facing a slew of probes from national antitrust investigations as regulators grapple with how to rein in Big Tech’s dominance. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

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By Benoit Berthelot and Samuel Stolton

Apple Inc. was hit with a complaint from the French antitrust watchdog over allegations it has imposed unfair conditions for the use of user data in advertising through its app store. 
 
The statement of objection targets Apple’s practices in the sector of app distribution, the regulator said Tuesday. Apple is “accused of abusing its dominant position by implementing discriminatory, non-objective and non-transparent conditions for the use of user data for advertising purposes.”

Apple is facing a slew of probes from national antitrust investigations as regulators grapple with how to rein in Big Tech’s dominance. EU antitrust officials are looking into whether the firm has restricted access to its payments chip. They are also engaged in a long-running probe into how Apple may have hampered music streaming companies like Spotify from telling users about deals outside of the app store on rival platforms.

In June last year, Germany’s antitrust watchdog opened a probe into Apple’s advertising technology, claiming that the firm’s terms of use unfairly favor Apple’s own services. In 2021, Apple dodged a French freeze on planned changes to the way it collects iPhone users’ data — but it was still facing an in-depth probe into whether the measures would harm advertisers.

In 2021, Apple’s privacy push included the need for users to tick a box to consent to data collection for its so-called identification for advertisers. App developers have historically used the system to help target users with ads and track the performance of ads across different devices.

“App Tracking Transparency gives users more control by requiring all apps to ask permission before tracking them,” an Apple spokesperson said. “We have previously received strong support from regulators and privacy advocates on the goal of ATT, including from the FCA and the CNIL, and we will continue to engage with the FCA constructively to ensure users remain in control of their data.”

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First Published: Jul 25 2023 | 11:26 PM IST

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