German regulator investigates Apple app tracking

The Bundeskartellamt is starting an investigation into the way in which Apple reads user data from its own iOS apps. Privacy rules impose strict requirements on this and the regulator suspects that Apple measures with two standards.

The instance announced Tuesday that it is launching a formal investigation into Apple tracking practices.

Since the release of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS 14.5 in April 2021, users must explicitly indicate per app whether and if they want their personal data to be shared with third parties. By default, Apple doesn’t allow this unless the user specifically asks for it. App publishers see millions of euros of advertising revenue evaporate as a result. With Facebook alone, it’s hundreds of millions.

The Bundeskartellamt notes that Apple itself is failing in this process. It does not ask for permission from users for its own apps to use and combine their data for advertising purposes.

“This can have a huge impact on the competitive environment in different markets,” reads the preliminary conclusion. The regulator does not provide an expected timeline for the investigation.

Photo: Fouquier (cc)

Source: Mobile – Emerce by

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