Apple was cited in France for Targeted App Store Marketing and fined $8.5 Million (Updated)

Apple was cited in France for Targeted App Store Marketing and fined $8.5 Million (Updated)

Apple is claimed to have gathered data without consent.

Apple was cited in France for Targeted App Store Marketing and fined $8.5 Million (Updated)

Apple is the second tech juggernaut to be fined today for tailored advertisements. The National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) of France has fined Apple €8 million (approximately $8.5 million) over claims that the company used iOS 14.6 to automatically collect identifying information from App Store users without their consent in order to target advertisements. Officials claim that the company was making money off of infractions of the legislation governing data protection.

Although the ad targeting could be removed, it was enabled by default and required navigating through several menu levels, according to CNIL. Users apparently found it difficult to give informed consent as a result. Since then, Apple has altered its procedures, and CNIL claimed to have checked the firm "many" times between 2021 and 2022 to ensure compliance with data regulations. In March 2021, France began its probe.

Apple has been contacted for comment. Apple said in a statement to Financial Times' Patrick McGee that it was "disappointed" with the ruling and intended to appeal, as observed by 9to5Mac. The manufacturer of the iPhone said that its Search Ads system went "further" than any competitor in providing options over targeted advertisements and didn't follow users across third-party apps or websites.

Apple and French regulators have a tense working relationship. The nation's competition regulator levied a fine of $1.2 billion (now reduced to $364.6 million) in 2020 for alleged antitrust violations in its supply chain. In the same year, the business was also hit with a $27.3 million punishment for performance throttling on the iPhone. Even if the French government stood up for Apple's iOS 14 anti-tracking features in the face of business pressure, it is clear that the company is still being closely watched.

Apple has provided Engadget with a complete statement. The reply is provided below.

"We will appeal this decision because the CNIL already acknowledged that user privacy is prioritized in how we display search advertisements in the App Store. More than any other digital advertising network that we are aware of, Apple Search Adverts gives people a clear choice about whether or not they want tailored ads. Additionally, Apple Search Ads exclusively uses first-party data to customize ads and never follows users across websites or third-party apps. We consider privacy to be a fundamental human right, and we believe users should always have the choice of whether and with whom to disclose their data.

Without the user's prior consent, these ad identifiers must not be able to be read and/or deposited. In actuality, though, the default settings for ad targeting on the iPhone were already selected. Additionally, because this option was not included in the phone's initialization procedure, the user had to take a lot of steps to successfully remove this parameter, according to CNIL. The "Privacy Directive" of the European Union, which enables member state level data protection authorities to respond to local complaints about violations, was the legal basis for the CNIL's actions.

Back to blog