Complaints against Apple's tracking tool filed

A group led by privacy activist Max Schrems filed complaints on Monday with German and Spanish data protection authorities over Apple’s online tracking tool, saying it breached European law by allowing iPhones to store users’ data without their consent, Reuters reported. It is the first such major action against the US technology group related to EU privacy rules.

Noyb, the digital rights group run by Schrems, complaints were brought against Apple’s use of a tracking code that is automatically generated on every iPhone when set up, the so-called Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). The 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 EU privacy laws,” said Noyb lawyer Stefano Rossetti. He referred to the EU’s e-Privacy Directive, which requires a user’s prior consent to the installation and use of such information.

Apple said it was not immediately in a position to comment. The tech giant has previously said it provides users with a superior level of privacy protection. It had announced it would further tighten its rules with the launch of its iOS 14 operating system this autumn but in September said it would delay the plan until early next year.

Noyb has successfully fought two landmark trials over privacy against Facebook.

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