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Apple has started reopening its retail stores worldwide, and is taking multiple measures to make sure customers and staff continue to stay safe during the global health crisis. One of these measures includes temperature checks for customers before they're allowed to enter one of Apple's stores using a non-contact forehead thermometer.

apple-schildergasse.jpg

A data protection agency in the German state of Hesse is concerned that Apple's temperature checks on customers violate European Union privacy rules and has launched a probe, according to Bloomberg Law.

The Hessian data protection agency is working with other German data protection authorities, according to a spokesperson for the Hessian Data Protection Commissioner. There are no results yet from the probe, which is aiming to determine if temperature checks infringe on data protection rules.

Apple began reopening its retail stores in Germany on May 11 with a focus on Genius Bar service and support. Apple is requiring temperature checks, and limiting the number of customers who can be in the store at once to ensure appropriate social distancing.

The 15 stores in Germany are also operating on reduced hours for the time being, with Apple implementing additional measures like ensuring employee/customer interactions take place across tables and adding a relay system to deliver products to prevent employees from moving about the store.

Article Link: Apple Store's Temperature Checks May Violate EU Privacy Rules, Says German Data Protection Office
 

konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
3,701
An Apple Store is a private space. Can't Apple ask people to consent?

The way it works in most countries is that a store is accessible to the public; anybody can walk in off the street. Therefore, Apple has given up many of its rights. For example, they are now required to have accommodations for handicapped individuals, and police can walk right in.
 
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casperes1996

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2014
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Horsens, Denmark
Sorry to poo poo this. If you are asymptomatic you won’t have a bloody temperature! So how the hell does this become ok.?!
What’s even the point in doing this?

A you may not even get a fever
B you may already have it but show no symptoms yet

Because even if it just catches 5% of cases that's 5% more than doing nothing - Would assume that's the logic.
And frankly, it's non-identifiable, presumably non-stored information, and information that isn't even persistent at that.
My temperature changes all the bloody time. If I sit in the sun it's different to if I sit in a freezer; the information isn't stored alongside a personal identification system, and it's not global monitoring of how your personal temperature changes throughout a day. It's not even an invasive check as it's a no-contact temperature measurement. What's the harm here? What privacy violation is being performed? Is it privacy violation to measure how fast your car is going when you're driving?
 

konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
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Wouldn't they need to know who the person is, before they could violate the persons' privacy?

Under the GDPR, it is on Apple to prove that a "motivated intruder" cannot determine who the person is. IANAL, but for example, if somebody standing behind the temperature taker could secretly photograph the thermometer and person, then the data is not anonymous.
 

mannyvel

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2019
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Hillsboro, OR
Your temperature isn't really private information. And even if it was, that rule can be waived for public health reasons. And since Apple isn't asking for ID and has no idea who a given individual is, then there shouldn't be any privacy issue.

Of course it's Germany and the legal system there is based on different principles.

It sounds, though, like the law in Germany is conflicting with itself. How do you create a safe space for your customers without knowing if some potential customers are unsafe?
 
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petvas

macrumors 603
Jul 20, 2006
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Munich, Germany
I live in Germany, I am German and I find these data privacy laws completely stupid. Apple is doing the right thing here and Germany shouldn't have a problem with that. Actually this should be happening in other buildings too, in other stores and government buildings. It's a quick way to identify if someone has symptoms that might be because of COVID-19. In Germany we have a tendency to go crazy with anything that might be violating our privacy. It's an extreme attitude and mentality that hopefully will go away.
 

casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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Horsens, Denmark
Under the GDPR, it is on Apple to prove that a "motivated intruder" cannot determine who the person is. IANAL, but for example, if somebody standing behind the temperature taker could secretly photograph the thermometer and person, then the data is not anonymous.

It is their responsibility to make sure that reasonable measures have been taken to prevent a motivated intruder from doing so, not to make it literally impossible for a motivated intruder to do so. In the digital space, which is my domain, if you follow all security best practices, but you get hacked regardless and costumer data publicised you've not violated GDPR even though a motivated intruder just got a bunch of private records publicised. You did everything reasonable to protect it and that's all that's expected of you. In the case of a physical store, I would imagine that not having the termometer display the result on a massive, easily visible display, but rather a tiny hard-to-see from afar display would be enough; But that's for the courts I suppose
 

compwiz1202

macrumors 604
May 20, 2010
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Because even if it just catches 5% of cases that's 5% more than doing nothing - Would assume that's the logic.
And frankly, it's non-identifiable, presumably non-stored information, and information that isn't even persistent at that.
My temperature changes all the bloody time. If I sit in the sun it's different to if I sit in a freezer; the information isn't stored alongside a personal identification system, and it's not global monitoring of how your personal temperature changes throughout a day. It's not even an invasive check as it's a no-contact temperature measurement. What's the harm here? What privacy violation is being performed? Is it privacy violation to measure how fast your car is going when you're driving?
The sun will actually be an issue, especially for the outdoor stores. Someone where I work got sent home because he was outside on a sunny day on break and of course his forehead temp was elevated by the sunlight. They will need to have you wait somewhere out of the heat to let it stabilize. And can people cheat it by running AC full blast or putting something cold on their forehead before trying to go in the store?
 

Loki Coyote

macrumors newbie
May 12, 2020
1
1
Pacific NW and Kentuckiana
We've known for decades that body temperature is correlated with sex and ethnicity, meaning these check are possibly going to be unintentionally discriminatory. Woman and blacks have a higher mean body temperature:
 
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