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Apple Inc. faces an initial investigation from Frances data-protection watchdog following a complaint that its personalized advertising feature violates
European Union privacy rules.
CNIL, the regulator that oversees privacy and data, is examining allegations from France Digitale, a lobbying group representing startups and venture capital firms, a spokesman for the watchdog said in response to questions from Bloomberg. France Digitale filed the complaint last week.
France Digitale says Apples personalized advertising feature — which shows ads in the App Store, Apple News, and the Stocks app — is based on user data, but doesnt seek consent before sending targeted ads. The complaint comes as Apple is preparing to release an iPhone and iPad software update that limits how much data third-party advertising systems, such as those from
Facebook Inc., can gather about users.
Users are insufficiently informed about the use and the processing of their personal data, France Digitale wrote in its complaint to CNIL, which was seen by Bloomberg News and confirmed by the regulator.
Spokespeople for Apple didnt immediately return emails or phone calls seeking comment. Apple has previously called the allegations in the complaint patently false and said privacy is built into the ads we sell on our platform with no tracking.
Read More: Apple Faces French Complaint Over IPhone Advertising Tool
The investigation may eventually be dismissed, lead to requests for Apple to make adjustments to its system or become an in-depth probe with CNIL imposing sanctions, spokesman Yohann Brunet said. The timing of the probe is undefined, he said.
We have to do a detailed study of whats been sent to us before CNIL decides whether the EUs data protection or e-privacy rules are at issue in the case, Brunet said.
France Digitales move comes after a group of French online advertisers filed a complaint with the countrys competition authority, asking it to halt changes to how iPhone users data is collected. The group of four advertising lobbies said the changes violated European Union rules on user consent, saying Apple can still deliver personalized advertising via a default setting, holding itself to a different standard.
The French antitrust ruling, which could have implications for Apples planned iOS 14 update, is expected imminently.
Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal.