Apple receives a French fine of 8 million euros for personalized ads

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Apple has been fined 8 million euros by the French privacy regulator CNIL. The regulator found that the tech giant used the identifiers of French iPhone users for advertising purposes in iOS 14.6 without permission.

The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés imposes the fine in response to a complaint about ad personalization in the Apple App Store. The CNIL conducted several investigations in 2021 and 2022 to determine whether privacy legislation is being complied with. This showed that user identifiers were automatically read in iOS 14.6, including for personalizing advertisements. According to the CNIL, such identifiers are not necessary for the provision of a service. Therefore, Apple must ask users for permission before using it for advertising purposes. That was not the case in iOS 14.6.

The privacy regulator further states that iPhone users must perform ‘a large number of actions’ before they can disable this default setting. Users had to go to their phone’s settings; there they could find the setting in the Privacy menu under the ‘Apple advertising’ section.

The CNIL then concludes that Apple violates Article 82 of the French data protection law. The regulator arrived at the amount of 8 million euros based on the number of users involved, the profit Apple has made with the data through personalized advertisements and the fact that Apple has complied with the law since iOS 15. The fine is higher than 6 million euros which was recommended by the supervisor’s top advisor. An Apple spokesperson tells Politico to be disappointed with the ruling and to appeal.

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