Several media and advertising companies have filed a cartel complaint against Apple with the Federal Cartel Office in Germany. With the introduction of iOS 14.5, Apple tightened its data protection regulations. These companies fear that their businesses will be harmed and accuse Apple of abuse, as Apple’s own services would most likely be exempted from similar rules, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage.
So far, eight companies have filed the antitrust complaint against Apple. They see themselves as prone to unfair competition. With iOS 14.5, the company or the app developer would have to get permission from iOS users to track them across different services and websites. These companies fear that many users would object to this request, which would most likely result in significant losses for their advertising business.
The allegations of these companies (including the Central Association of the German Advertising Industry ZAW, the organization of the media agencies OMG and the publishing associations BDZV and VdZ among others) are that Apple would ensure that their services are exempted from these new data protection mechanisms.
Essentially, all of the competition is removed from the game board in one fell swoop, so no commercially relevant data can be accessed by users within the Apple ecosystem. Imagine that Apple itself, in return, collects significant amounts of user data for their use. Pretty shameful, don’t you think?
According to Tagesschau.deApple countered this allegation that “privacy is a fundamental human right”. This data belongs to the users and they should be able to decide for themselves how and by whom their data should be used. Apple also cited support from government agencies and data protection officers as they worked on this role.
New features in iOS 14.5 that launched on April 26, 2021
Apple will introduce the stricter data protection guidelines in the next iOS and iPadOS update. This rollout started yesterday. If you’re curious about whether your iPhone will get this important iOS update, check out our iOS 14.5 update tracker.
For app developers, this is indeed bad news. In order to deliver personalized ads to users, they need to get approval beforehand. We recently explained how much this loophole is being abused by advertisers and data brokers alike. Such data brokers can collect up to 5,000 data elements about a single user – mostly without their knowledge or consent, even if the respective apps are not used.
My final opinion: is ATT a curse or a blessing now?
The new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework offers many potential benefits for users, that much is clear. On the other hand, it also poses a threat to multiple industries – including us as a NextPit.
In my opinion, however, there needs to be a new, better way to deal with our data. The practice that has emerged on the Internet over the past decade cannot continue like this. We need another way to deal with our data. The fact that large corporations have been able to look into every aspect of our lives and build such a gigantic database that they make well over $ 100 billion annually is a frightening thought to me.
Yes, it would be an abuse of power if Apple alone would quietly collect our data and then monetize it. Apple’s business model is not to sell data but, on the contrary, to sell hardware that is usually priced well above the rest of the competition. Such a pricing structure can only be achieved if customers fully trust the company. So it would be to Apple’s disadvantage if they betrayed this trust.
Anyone who has ever set up Apple products knows that Apple always asks if you want to share your usage data anonymously in order to improve its products, or if you want to share your location. Sensitive, personal data is never sent directly to Apple, but remains encrypted on the iPhone or iPad.
So I’m looking forward to the reaction of the future powers, who incidentally commented on the antitrust complaint with a nonchalant comment: “We’ll look at this first.” For us users, I hope the Wild, Wild West era of data collection is over. Hopefully we in the media industry can think of newer and better business models and build them.
We need a change in online ethics, we really do! What do you think?