Some practices that Apple considers de rigueur may eventually land the company in hot water with European audiences due to the strictures of the landmark General Data Protection Rule that’s now law on the European continent, and requires multinational companies to up their game when it comes to privacy of user data.
Reports today show a privacy group called Noyb run by a fellow named Max Schrems is contending Apple runs afoul of GDPR because of its practice of including a tracking code called IDFA allowing for information facilitating third-party marketing.
“(Noyb) 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,” writes Kirsti Knolle for Reuters.
IDFA is widely known as a boon for digital advertisers, and the idea that it violates privacy law is likely to get some pushback
First of all, users are able to turn IDFA off on modern iPhones..
Apple contends that its systems provide users a “superior level of privacy protection” and proponents of iPhone designs cite new features on the iOS 14 operating system that dropped this fall.
“With iOS 14, Apple is giving iPhone and iPad owners even more power over their data, ranging from better location options to tracking controls that require an app to be more transparent about the data it collects about you, and how the information is used,” writes Jason Cipriani at Cnet, mentioning more user control over the microphone and camera, and looser locational reporting, as some of the reforms being made by the company.
However, Apple does still have to reckon with the high standards set by European regulators.
It’s also not outside the realm of possibility that Apple’s privacy issues will at some point lower its stock price. Apple stock has been on a rampage for years, and while it’s now one of the most popular blue-chip stocks, it’s not immune to losses from liabilities, so look carefully if you have Apple holdings or intend to get some.