Apple has been fined by Italy’s Competition Authority for allegedly using user data (of its users) for commercial purposes without their consent. It is reportedly a violation of Italy’s Consumer Code; Google has been fined by the same authority for the same reason.
According to the competition authority, both the giants – Apple and Google – are using data of their users for economic and promotional activity. The more serious aspect of the issue is that these companies allegedly do not explicitly ask users for their consent. Apple reportedly exploits user data to improve the economic activity on the App Store, Apple Books, and iTunes Store.
In the case of Apple, however, the promotional activity is based on a method of acquiring consent to the use of user data for commercial purposes without providing the consumer with the possibility of a prior and express choice on sharing their data. This acquisition architecture, prepared by Apple, does not make it possible to exercise one’s will on the use of one’s data for commercial purposes. Therefore, the consumer is conditioned in the choice of consumption and undergoes the transfer of personal information, which Apple can dispose of for its own promotional purposes carried out in different ways.
The Italian authority argues that when users sign up for Apple ID, the company does not explicitly say that the user’s data will be used for commercial purposes. It adds that the company says that the data will be used for improving and personalizing the user’s experience.
We believe the Authority’s view is wrong and will be appealing the decision. Apple has a long-standing commitment to the privacy of our users and we work incredibly hard to design products and features that protect customer data. We provide industry-leading transparency and control to all users so they can choose what information to share or not, and how it is used.