France backs Apple privacy feature
Apple was given a boost on Wednesday as France’s antitrust watchdog rejected advertisers’ requests to suspend the iPhone maker’s upcoming privacy feature, but it still faces a probe into whether it unfairly favours its own products and services.
Apple’s new “App Tracking Transparency” feature allows users to block advertisers from tracking them across different applications.
The US tech giant says it defends data privacy rights, but it faces criticism from Facebook, app developers and startups whose business models rely on advertising tracking.
French groups complained to the French watchdog last year, saying the feature would not affect Apple’s ability to send targeted ads to users of its own iOS software without seeking their prior consent.
The head of the watchdog, Isabelle de Silva, said she had worked closely with France’s CNIL data privacy regulator in deciding to reject the request to suspend the feature.
She said CNIL estimated the pop-up box put in place by Apple could benefit users in an ever-more complex online advertising environment, and was presented in clear and unbiased way, as requested by the EU’s GDPR data protection rules.
These rules weighed heavily on the watchdog’s decision, de Silva said.