EU Antitrust VP Warns Apple to Give Equal Treatment to All Apps Amid Tracking Changes

Amid Apple's planned privacy changes that will require app developers to ask for permission before tracking users for advertising purposes, European Commission VP Margrethe Vestager today warned Apple that it must treat all apps equally, including its own.

app tracking transparency prompt ios 14
In an interview with Reuters, Vestager said that if Apple is not treating its apps in the same way when it comes to the privacy requirements, "it can be competition" that could lead to antitrust issues.

Facebook, the most vocal opponent of Apple's upcoming privacy changes, has claimed that Apple's plans are anti-competitive because Apple's own apps are exempt from the rules. Apple plans to force app developers to ask users before accessing the advertising identifier (IDFA) on user devices for ad tracking purposes, with the requirement to be enforced when iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are released.

Apple has clarified that the opt-out options apply to all developers who track users, including Apple, but Apple will not need to use the pop ups asking for permission because its advertising platform does not track users.

Vestager told Reuters that thus far, she has not received complaints about Apple's changes, and that she thinks it's a good move for privacy. "It is a very good thing to have a clear opt-out option. If you look at the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, these are some of the solutions we are looking at there," she said.

Top Rated Comments

cmaier Avatar
8 months ago

So… don't call it an app, just make it an integrated part of the OS? ?
The article says apple doesn't track users, so apple has no need to use the popup. Same as any other developer who doesn't track users.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SDJim Avatar
8 months ago

Apple has clarified that the opt-out options apply to all developers ('https://www.macrumors.com/2020/12/16/apple-responds-to-facebook-tracking-criticism/') who track users, including Apple, but Apple will not need to use the pop ups asking for permission because its advertising platform does not track users.
WHY is this soooo hard for people to grasp??? If it were better understood, there would be a LOT of people suddenly dropping Android for iOS.

People don't get it, though. Technology is magic. Technology steals your data. Therefore, all technology works the same and steals your data.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
8 months ago
Pop up in Apple apps:

"Apple apps do not track users or use tracking cookies or other technologies. Press OK to confirm you understand this or press Cancel to exit the app if you do not like not being tracked."
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
subjonas Avatar
8 months ago
I prefer being tracked. It makes me feel important.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
8 months ago

In an interview with Reuters ('https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL1N2KE243'), Vestager said that if Apple is not treating its apps in the same way when it comes to the privacy requirements, "it can be competition" that could lead to antitrust issues.
Well the funny thing is that Apple doesn’t need a pop up warning for their own apps because they don’t track your activity.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coolfactor Avatar
8 months ago

One thing I’ve noticed, Messages does not require permission to access my photos.
Messages gets a free pass because it's integrated into the OS deeply, not an installable app. Same as the Phone app needing access to Contacts. This would stand up in court.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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