Apple has won the case in France after the tech company was accused of not implementing stricter privacy changes on iOS 14. The French competition regulator rejected a request from lobbying groups for the online advertising sector to block Apple's anti-tracking controls.

Apple wins a lawsuit in France

In June 2020, Apple announced it will implement stricter data collection rules on third-party developers. In the same month, the update happened. 

 The update required apps to ask a user's permission before a third-party developer can access the ad-tracking ID on iOS 14.

In October 2020, a referral asking for the measures to be stopped on antitrust grounds was submitted to the French competition watchdog, according to Yahoo Finance.

Also Read: Apple Fined $27M in France For Slowing Old iPhones; Charged Deceptive!

However, the regular sided with Apple in its preliminary decision on the case. The Autorite de la concurrence stated that it did not view the new feature as an abusive practice by a company, and this decision quashed the objections of the complainants.

The watchdog, which consulted with the data protection regulator in France on the case, stated that it still plans to pursue an in-depth investigation of the updates to verify whether they constitute a form of self-preferencing by Apple.

The watchdog will now examine whether Apple could be applying more binding privacy rules on third-party developers but not applying the rules for itself.

Isabelle de Silva, head of France's competition authority, told The Wall Street Journal that they can't intervene just because there might be a negative impact for companies in the ecosystem. She said that at this stage, they had not found examples of discrimination yet.

The decision has greatly affected businesses on the broader tech industry looking to stop Apple's plans over their negative impact on digital ad revenue.

Europe has some of the strictest privacy laws globally, and the regulators are not willing to relinquish the data-tracking controls for citizens.

Facebook vs. Apple

Facebook, a company that was vocal about its opposition to the privacy updates, targeted Apple's policy in newspaper ads in the United States.

The company founded by Mark Zuckerberg is also preparing an antitrust suit against Apple over fears that the changes would give it an unfair advantage with the ads that are displayed on the iOS App Store and in other platforms.

In January, WhatsApp, which Facebook owns, was forced to delay an update of its privacy policy when an in-app notification informed its users that some data from the platform would be shared with Facebook, according to CNET. 

The update raised concerns about the privacy of chat messages and profile data, and it immediately led users to shift in droves to other apps like Signal. Now a showdown with Apple over data tracking has prompted Facebook to take action.

So what can users expect to see? In the next few months, iPhone users will see a message from Apple asking them if they will allow the Facebook app to collect their data. If the user refuses, Apple will block Facebook from doing so.

The same message from Apple will show up on the screen related to any app that collects users' data for advertising purposes.

According to Facebook, the company will preempt the change by rolling out a pop-up screen over the coming months, making a plea to users to stay opted in.

Related Article: Apple Reluctant Over France's Request to Lift Bluetooth Limits and Allow Contact Tracing App

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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