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2,000 French startups hit Apple with a personalized advertising complaint

Paris: A group representing 2,000 French startups filed a complaint against Apple today, accusing the US company of failing to obtain permission from users for custom advertising.

In a petition filed with the French data privacy watchdog CNIL, France Group Digitale said that this ad is automatically activated while updating the Apple iPhone and Mac.

Apple rejected these allegations, describing them as “clearly false,” saying in a statement to AFP that “privacy is included in the ads that we sell on our platform without tracking.”

There are personalized ads on Apple apps such as the App Store and Apple News, and the American group acknowledges that it uses personal and technical information, including search logs and geographic localization.

Apple insists that it does not pass personal user data to third parties but rather combines it in “slices” of several thousand people.

The company’s technical documents say, “We are required to make certain non-personal information available to the strategic partners who work with Apple” to help them sell the products.

France Digitale claims that “the prior and presumed approval by Apple of user consent is not in line with European standards”.

“If the complaint is proven by facts, then this means that Apple allows its applications to do things that are not authorized by third-party developers,” said Nicholas Breen, chief executive of France Digitale, told AFP.

Apple said the allegations “will emerge for what they are, a bad attempt by those who track users to distract from their actions and mislead regulators and policymakers.”

She added, “We adhere to higher standards by allowing users to opt-out of using Apple’s first-party limited data for personalized ads, a feature that makes us unique.”

Apple is rolling out a new mobile operating system, iOS 14, and plans to systematically require users to authorize app developers to use a device identifier for advertisers, or IDFA.

This destabilized the online advertising sector, which relied on access to personal data, and caused a rift between Apple and the social media group Facebook.

But Austrian digital rights group NOYB (None of your business) has filed complaints against Apple in Germany and Spain for allowing it to submit requests to IDFAs for us without specific consent.

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