Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,449
17,784


Apple and Google were today fined 10 million euros ($11 million) by Italy's Competition Authority for allegedly using user data for commercial purposes without their explicit consent, an apparent violation of Italy's Consumer Code.

apple-privacy.jpg

The authority claims that both Apple and Google utilize user data they collect through their services for promotional and economic activity without the user's consent. Apple "directly exploits the economic value" of user data it collects to "increase the sale of its products and/or those of third parties through its commercial platforms (App Store, iTunes Store, and Apple Books)," according to a machine-translated copy of the press release.

The watchdog claims that neither Apple nor Google provides users with sufficient and immediate information that their data will be used for commercial purposes. Specifically, the readout of the fine claims that Apple does not provide users with a way to opt out of the use of their data for commercial purposes. As per the press release (machine translation):
In the case of Apple, however, the promotional activity is based on a method of acquiring consent to the use of user data for commercial purposes without providing the consumer with the possibility of a prior and express choice on sharing their data. This acquisition architecture, prepared by Apple, does not make it possible to exercise one's will on the use of one's data for commercial purposes. Therefore, the consumer is conditioned in the choice of consumption and undergoes the transfer of personal information, which Apple can dispose of for its own promotional purposes carried out in different ways.
The Italian authority said when users create an Apple ID, which is essential for accessing any of Apple's services, Apple does not "immediately and explicitly provide the user with any indication on the collection and use of (their) data for commercial purposes." The watchdog added that Apple only tells users that their data will be used to improve and personalize their experience, not that it will be used for commercial purposes.

When using the App Store, for example, Apple does show users a splash screen that informs them that Apple may use some of their data to "enable features, secure our services, or personalize your experience." While the authority correctly outlines Apple's lack of acknowledgment that data would be used for commercial purposes, it fails to provide examples or evidence that Apple has partaken in such activities.

Apple's privacy policy, accessible to all users on its websites, states the company will only use personal data to power its services, comply with local laws, prevent fraud, and for communication objectives. Apple's privacy policy also adds that personal data may be used for other purposes only with user consent, covering any possible ambiguity.

Italy's competition watchdog fined Apple over $150 million earlier this week for alleged anti-competitive practices with Beats and Amazon. The fine was a result of an investigation that found Apple and Amazon were limiting the sales of Beats products through third-party resellers in an attempt to stifle competition.

Update: Apple in a statement to MacRumors said that the authority's viewpoint is "wrong' and that it plans on appealing the decision. Apple also said that it only sends marketing emails to customers after receiving their explicit consent and that it uses its "Data & Privacy" screen to inform users of ways their personal data is being used. Apple also said it does not personalize any of its services, including its digital Stores, for children and allows users to disable personalization at any time.
We believe the Authority's view is wrong and will be appealing the decision. Apple has a long-standing commitment to the privacy of our users and we work incredibly hard to design products and features that protect customer data. We provide industry-leading transparency and control to all users so they can choose what information to share or not, and how it is used.

Article Link: Apple Fined $11 Million in Italy for Employing 'Aggressive Methods' in Commercial Use of Private Data
 
Last edited:

yabeweb

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2021
222
666
How dare they! Apple is all about privacy, they said so in a commercial. “What happens in your iPhone stays in your iPhone”.
I don’t understand this. Anyone who gets an Apple device is presented with multiple screens asking the user to opt in or out of various features. So is this saying that if a user opts out of everything, Apple still collects data for commercial use?

It's not about the iPhone / devices, it's about the Apple ID.
 

avichou

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2021
730
207
I don’t understand this. Anyone who gets an Apple device is presented with multiple screens asking the user to opt in or out of various features. So is this saying that if a user opts out of everything, Apple still collects data for commercial use?
funny name
 

Kierkegaarden

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2018
947
1,597
USA
I don’t understand this. Anyone who gets an Apple device is presented with multiple screens asking the user to opt in or out of various features. So is this saying that if a user opts out of everything, Apple still collects data for commercial use?
I don’t understand it either. Is any harm coming to the consumer? If not, why are they being fined? And while they’re at, why not fine every website on the internet that doesn’t let you opt out of cookies?
 

Lihp8270

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2016
638
913
I don’t understand it either. Is any harm coming to the consumer? If not, why are they being fined? And while they’re at, why not fine every website on the internet that doesn’t let you opt out of cookies?
It you’re in the EU nearly every website now displays a cookie opt out window.

It’s infuriating, many US based sites just block access from the EU and the UK as they don’t want to comply with data laws.
 

Lihp8270

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2016
638
913
Really? I'm in the UK and I've never been blocked from accessing a US-based site, even when we were in the EU.
“Never”?

It appears that most have got their act together now. I’ve not noticed as I don’t visit US news sites often. But there was a time that a lot were unavailable.


 

Lihp8270

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2016
638
913
I’m in the UK too and whilst you’re right that it’s not common i have had it happen to me.

I’ve had one within the last month say they don’t serve UK visitors.
Yeah it’s not as common as it used to be. I just checked a few others that I know I’ve been blocked from and a lot do seem to now comply with GDPR
 

Reggaenald

macrumors member
Sep 26, 2021
39
16
I don’t understand this. Anyone who gets an Apple device is presented with multiple screens asking the user to opt in or out of various features. So is this saying that if a user opts out of everything, Apple still collects data for commercial use?
Maybe, probably not though. As the article states, there is no proof presented that Apple did so. However, should Apple just comply with the fine and pay it without appealing it, it seems that, at least in Italy, they might.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cyanite

HarryKeogh

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2008
603
803
Fun fact: Earlier this year Apple reported having nearly 200 billion in cash on hand. If you had $10,000 in the bank this would be like getting a 50¢ fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: amartinez1660

sw1tcher

macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2004
2,767
5,956
Apple and Google were today fined 10 million euros ($11 million) by Italy's Competition Authority for allegedly using user data for commercial purposes without their explicit consent, an apparent violation of Italy's Consumer Code.
Apple's net profit for fiscal year 2021 was $94,680,000,000.

A $11 million fine. That's what Apple made in an hour. It's like a rounding error.

[($94,680,000,000 ÷ 365) ÷ 24] = $10,808,219.18

Not much of a punishment if Apple really is guilty.
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,760
3,362
How about this for a crazy idea.
And this could apply for all fines for all reasons for all individuals even as well as companies......

A fine is supposed to be a deterrent to stop you from doing something.
Either before you do it, or a punishment and notice to others of consequences.

For this to work it should be proportionate to that individual or organisation.

EG: A $50 parking fine could mean, the cost of food for a month for one person, or one glass of wine in the evening for someone else.

So, how about fine someone a percentage of wealth/income rather than an actual dollar amount?

I spy on you, I would get a fine of perhaps $1000
Apple spies on you exactly the same way, and they get a fine of £100,000,000

We are both hurt? to a more equal amount...
 

Da_Hood

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2017
111
132
Australia
OMG, yet another Government shakedown.
Couldn't possibly be good ole Apple breaking the law.
Busted once again, misdemeanour , but just think of all the criminal **** the governments can't see. Whistleblower gonna blow that shady Apple International **** up one day. Make this look like J walking.
 

jarman92

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2014
937
2,774
Uh... the article indicates that there's no proof given for the claim that Apple has, in fact, actually used the data for commercial purposes. It's quite possible the intention here is to hide behind the vagueness of "commercial purposes" to pick up $150m.

The intention of most of these fines is to make a quick buck off US tech companies. I would say the US should respond in kind, but there aren't any European tech companies to fine. I wonder why...
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.