Apple fined $8.5 million for illegal data collection

Apple fined $8.5 million for illegal data collection

On Wednesday, the CNIL, France’s data protection agency, was charged with illegally collecting iPhone owners’ data for targeted advertising without consent. issued a fine of 8.5 million dollars to Apple.

The issuance of a fine by the CNIL is an unusual sanction for Apple. Because this company has faced much less privacy legal issues than its big competitors. Apple has made privacy a selling point for its smartphones and uses the word privacy to better market this product. The company has always mentioned privacy on the iPhone in its big advertising billboards around the world. However, the French fine is the latest piece of evidence that the iPhone maker isn’t the guardian angel it claims it is to protect its customers’ privacy.

The CNIL said in a statement that Apple did not take steps to satisfy French iPhone users (iOS version 14.6) before depositing or writing identifiers used for advertising purposes on its terminals. The fine of this regulatory organization specifically refers to the advertisements of the App Store. In December, a French court fined the company more than $1 million due to business practices related to the App Store.

Apple fined $8.5 million

An Apple spokesperson said: We are disappointed by this decision; Because the CNIL has already recognized that the method of presenting advertisements in the search section of the App Store gives priority to the privacy of users. We will file an appeal against this ruling. Apple’s App Store search ads outperform other digital advertising platforms. This section clearly asks users whether to display personalized ads for them or not.

Advertising activity of Apple company

You might not think of Apple as an advertising company right now, but that view is likely to change in the near future. According to the report of the analytical company Insider Intelligence, Apple has a continuous advertising activity that will earn about 5.4 billion dollars this year. Apple displays ads on a number of its services, including the App Store, and reports suggest the company is in talks to offer ads to Apple TV. Therefore, this advertising business is expected to grow tremendously in the near future. After the iPhone maker crippled Facebook’s ad network with its app tracking transparency policy in 2021, it’s now in a great position to expand its growing ad unit.

Many of Apple’s ads are targeted. The company uses the same methods as its competitors to display ads. It is interesting that Apple has repeatedly criticized its competitors for using the same advertising methods. Although the company claims to display personalized ads with users’ consent, the French CNIL fine shows that this claim is far from the truth.

Privacy settings for personalized ads are enabled by default on iPhones running iOS 14.6 or earlier. This setting allowed users to seek control themselves if they wanted to protect their data. According to the CNIL, this violates EU privacy law and falls under the 2002 ePrivacy Directive.

Apple has fixed this problem in newer versions of its mobile operating system. In these versions, users’ consent is first obtained before collecting data.

Nicolas Revel, president of Alliance Digitale, a French digital marketing company, says:

Apple is finally caught; The same company that said its products and services are the market leaders in terms of data protection. This company severely violates privacy laws. This is a real problem of misleading and deceptive advertising on a much larger scale. We ask the French authorities to look into it.

As Apple expands its advertising business, it has come under scrutiny for its less than stellar privacy practices. Recent research shows that Apple continues to collect user data even when privacy settings for analytics are turned off. The company is facing a class-action lawsuit over the issue, and Revel is pressuring the CNIL to take more regulatory action on the matter.

A fine of 8.5 million dollars is not too much for a company like Apple that makes billions of dollars a year from advertising alone. If Apple’s European headquarters were not in Ireland, the fine could have been much higher.

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