An Austrian privacy group met a severe critical response from Apple on Monday after the group said: The online tracking tool used on its devices violates European law.
The group, led by activist Max Schrems, has filed complaints with data protection watchdogs in Germany and Spain, claiming that the tracking tool illegally enabled the $ 2 trillion US tech giant to store user data without their consent.
Apple has directly refuted the allegations made by the digital rights group Noyb founded by Shermos, saying: They are factually inaccurate and we look forward to making this clear to privacy regulators should they examine the complaint.
Noyb has filed complaints against Apple’s use of the tracking code, known as IDFA, and the code stored within the device enables tracking of online user behavior and consumption preferences – which is vital in allowing companies to send targeted ads.
Noyb’s lawyer, Stefano Rossetti, said: Apple puts codes that can be compared to a cookie in its phones without any consent from the user, and this is a clear violation of privacy laws in the European Union.
Rossetti pointed to the European Union Directive on Electronic Privacy, which requires user consent before using this information.
Apple said in response: It does not access the IDFA advertiser ID or use it within a user’s device for any purpose.
It explained that its goal is to protect the privacy of its users and that the latest version of the iOS 14 operating system gives users greater control over the ability of apps to link to third parties for targeted advertising purposes.
Apple owns one in four smartphones sold in Europe, according to data from market research firm Counterpoint.
Noyb explained that the claims were filed on behalf of a German and Spanish consumer and were handed over to the Spanish data protection authority and its counterpart in Berlin.
Noyb said its allegations are based on the 2002 Electronic Privacy Directive that allows national authorities to impose fines independently, avoiding the lengthy procedures it faced in its case against Facebook that was based on the European Union’s GDPR.
The General Data Protection Regulation that was launched in 2018 includes a mandatory cooperation mechanism between national authorities.
Rossetti said: The measure aims to establish a clear principle that tracking should be the exception, not the rule.
Apple responded by saying: Our practices comply with European law and support and promote the goals of the GDPR and the Electronic Privacy Directive, which is to give people complete control over their data.