Apple targeted by privacy campaigner who took on Facebook1 min read . Updated: 16 Nov 2020, 01:36 PM IST
The iPhone maker will require app developers from early next year to show a warning label to users before collecting IDFA info on iOS 14, and will also require that users opt in to sharing it
Apple Inc.’s ad tracking is the target of two complaints to Spanish and German authorities by a privacy advocate whose earlier legal battles are forcing Facebook Inc. to change the way it transfers data.
A group called NOYB filed complaints with the Spanish and Berlin data protection authorities, calling for them to outlaw Apple’s so-called identification for advertisers, or IDFA service, according to an emailed statement Monday. The group argues that the service allows Apple and various apps to track users and combine information on their web use without the users’ consent.
“With our complaints we want to enforce a simple principle: trackers are illegal, unless a user freely consents," NOYB lawyer Stefano Rossetti said in the statement. “Smartphones are the most intimate device for most people and they must be tracker-free by default."
Rossetti said the complaints aren’t based on the recent General Data Protection Regulation law and won’t require involvement from the Irish data-protection authority which handles most European privacy issues involving Apple.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The two data protection authorities didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside usual business hours.
Privacy campaigner Max Schrems, who heads NOYB, has been challenging Facebook in the Irish courts -- where the social media company has its European base -- arguing that EU citizens’ data is at risk the moment it gets transferred to the U.S.
App developers have historically used IDFA to help target users with ads and track the performance of ads across different devices. The iPhone maker will require app developers from early next year to show a warning label to users before collecting IDFA info on iOS 14, and will also require that users opt in to sharing it. Those changes have triggered an antitrust complaint from French advertisers who say it could force their revenue to plummet.
The group is also reviewing a similar tracking system used by Google, it said.