The French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) announced on Wednesday it has imposed a fine of €8 million ($8,485 million) on Apple for violating the country’s rules by collecting user data by default to show personalized advertisements on the App Store.
‘’The CNIL services have found that under the old version 14.6 of the iPhone operating system, when a user went to the App Store, identifiers for several purposes, including purposes of customizing advertising ads displayed on the App Store, were by default automatically read on the terminal without collecting consent,’’ the privacy watchdog said in a statement.
Although they are not strictly necessary for the App Store, “the advertising targeting settings available from the “Settings” icon of the iPhone were pre-checked by default“, said the CNIL, adding that users are required to perform complicated actions in order to turn them off. (Settings > Privacy & Security > Apple Advertising)
“We are disappointed with this decision given the CNIL has previously recognized that how we serve search ads in the App Store prioritizes user privacy, and we will appeal,” Apple said, following the CNIL’s announcement.
“Apple Search Ads goes further than any other digital advertising platform we are aware of by providing users with a clear choice as to whether or not they would like personalized ads. Additionally, Apple Search Ads never tracks users across 3rd party apps and websites, and only uses first-party data to personalize ads. We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and a user should always get to decide whether to share their data and with whom,” the tech giant added.
The regulators’ fine dates back to 2021 when it launched the investigation after receiving a complaint from France Digitale that alleged Apple’s iOS 14 operating system violated the country’s rules as it failed to get clear user consent to track their data for personalized ads.
Meanwhile, Apple also received a fine of €1 million last month by the Paris Commercial Court for imposing abusive commercial clauses on app developers in the country through its App Store.