European activist files complaints against Apple’s ‘Identifier for Advertisers’

Noyb, the digital rights group led by privacy activist Max Schrems, filed complaints on Monday with German and Spanish data protection authorities over Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), saying it breaches European law by allowing iPhones to store users’ data without their consent.

Apple Park in Cupertino, California
Apple Park in Cupertino, California

Kirsti Knolle for Reuters:

The [IDFA] code, stored on the device, allows Apple and third parties to track a user’s online behaviour and consumption preferences – vital for the likes of Facebook to be able to send targeted ads that will interest the user.

“Apple places codes that are comparable to a cookie in its phones without any consent by the user. This is a clear breach of European Union privacy laws,” said Noyb lawyer Stefano Rossetti…

Apple’s planned new rules would not change this as they would restrict third-party access but not Apple’s… Apple faced an antitrust complaint in France last month in which advertising groups objected to the planned privacy changes, saying they gave Apple an unfair advantage.

MacDailyNews Take: So, Apple’s plan is that, as soon as early 2021, iOS will require users to opt-in third party app gets to access the IDFA to track iPhone users’ in-app activity for ad targeting, but noyb’s complaint centers on Apple setting of the IDFA in the first place. noyb claims that since Apple’s pseudonymised identifier constitutes personal data under EU law Apple’s needs to get users’ permission before creating and storing it on devices.

This might be less of an effort to change Apple procedures for user consent (although such changes might occur) than to generate laws that are more current than old legislation regulating “cookies.”

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