Apple awaits iOS 14 tracking decision in France

Apple might have to freeze its plans…

What you need to know

  • Apple may be forced to freeze changes to iOS 14 that will make user tracking through IDFA an opt-in feature.
  • It all hangs on a preliminary judgment from competition authorities expected tomorrow.

Apple is awaiting a preliminary decision from French competition authorities regarding its iOS 14 privacy changes that could see the move halted in the country.

From Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is set to be handed a preliminary decision from France’s antitrust authority after proposed changes to the way it collects iPhone users’ data sparked outrage among online advertisers.
Wednesday’s announcement could include an order for Apple to enter into talks with ad firms or even a demand for the U.S. tech giant to temporarily freeze its plans, according to people familiar with the case, who asked not to be named because the process isn’t public.

The report says a probe into the measures has not concluded and that Apple will not receive a fine or any final ruling tomorrow. As the report notes, advertising groups in the country have asked French antitrust authorities to “call Apple into talks with the industry” regarding planned changes to iOS 14 that will mean users have to opt-in if they want to be tracked using an IDFA identifier used to target personalized ads by companies like Facebook. Apple is also under fire in France from the CNIL privacy group, over claims the new iOS 14 changes don’t comply with EU privacy requirements. From that report:

France Digitale claims that these do not extend to Apple’s own software and services:

On the one hand, France Digitale argues, iPhone owners are asked whether they’re ready to allow installed mobile apps to gather a key identifier used to define campaign ads and send targeted ads.

On the other hand, Apple’s default settings allow the U.S. firm to carry its own targeted ad campaigns without clearly asking iPhone users for their prior consent, France Digitale says.

Apple slammed those claims as “patently false” and “a poor attempt by those who track users to distract from their own actions and mislead regulators and policymakers.”

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