Recently, Austrian privacy activist and lawyer Maximilian Schrems forced Facebook to make concessions, now he’s aiming his arrows at Apple. According to him, the smartphone maker violates EU law by allowing iPhone users to be tracked without having given their consent.
According to Schrems’ team, Apple can monitor how users behave without their knowledge, let alone their consent. This is done through the unique tracking code generated by each iPhone.
Track to personalize
This so-called IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) works like a kind of license plate. This allows Apple, and all companies that develop apps for iPhone, to identify individual users across different applications, the privacy group explains in a press release. It even allows companies to link the mobile behavior of a user to his / her other online behavior, so tracing across different devices.
According to Noyb, as Schrems’ organization is called, Apple, app developers and advertisers can use IDFA to monitor online behavior and infer consumption preferences. Based on this, personalized advertisements can be displayed.
This kind of tracking is regulated under the so-called “Cookie Act”, and it requires explicit consent from the user.
“Tracking is only allowed if users explicitly consent to it. It’s a very simple rule that applies regardless of the tracking technology used, ”explains Stefano Rossetti. He is a privacy lawyer at Noyb, which stands for None of Your Business. “Although Apple has introduced features in its browser that can block cookies, it places similar codes in its phones without the user’s consent,” he continues.
Avoid endless procedures
Max Schrems has filed a complaint with the Spanish and German regulators with Noyb. In doing so, he wants to avoid the endless procedures that are characteristic of European courts.
Earlier this year, the group won an important victory at the European Court. The EU court voided a privacy agreement allowing Facebook to send personal data of European users to the United States for commercial use. To effectively stop those data transfers, Schrems and Noyb are still fighting a legal war of attrition with the social media empire.