Italy fines Apple, Google for ‘aggressive’ data practices – TechCrunch

Apple and Google were each fined 10 million euros by the Italian Competition and Markets Authority (AGCM), which considered that they had not provided their users with sufficiently clear information about commercial uses of their data, in violation of the country’s consumer code.

The regulator also accuses the couple of deploying “aggressive” practices to push users to accept the commercial treatment.

Apple and Google have both been contacted for a response to the ACGM sanction. Both said they would appeal.

Google is accused of omitting relevant information during the account creation phase and while consumers are using its services – information the regulator should provide in order for people to decide whether or not to consent to its use of their data. for business purposes.

The AGCM also accused Apple of failing to immediately provide users with clear information about how it uses their information commercially when they create an Apple ID or access its digital stores, such as the App Store.

That’s the rather surprising sanction – given Apple’s carefully cultivated image as a champion of consumer privacy (not to mention the premium its devices and services tend to offer over cheaper alternatives and supported by advertising, such as products made by Google).

The Italian regulator brings together the practices of the two companies in a press release announcing the sanctions – accusing each of being particularly aggressive in imposing selfish trading conditions on their respective users, especially during the account creation phase.

For Google, the ACGM notes that it pre-defines user acceptance of commercial processing – and also notes that the adtech giant does not provide users with a clear way to revoke their consent for these transfers of data. data later or change their choice after the account step. been completed.

It also believes that Apple’s approach denies users the ability to properly exercise choices over its commercial use of their data, with the regulator arguing that the iPhone maker’s data acquisition practices and architecture Essentially “condition” the consumer to accept his commercial terms.

This is a clumsy accusation for a company that spends a lot of money suggesting that its devices and software are superior to alternatives (such as Google’s technology) exactly because it claims to put user privacy at the heart of what it is. ‘she does.

In a statement, Apple rejected the ACGM’s finding – writing:

“We believe that the Authority’s point of view is wrong and will appeal the decision. Apple has a long-standing commitment to the privacy of our users and we work incredibly hard to design products and features that protect customer data. We provide state-of-the-art transparency and control to all users so they can choose what information to share or not to share, and how it is used.

A Google spokesperson also disagreed with the findings, sending this statement:

“We have transparent and fair practices in order to provide our users with useful tools and clear information on their use. We give people simple controls to manage their information and limit the use of personal data, and we work hard to be fully compliant with consumer protection rules. We do not agree with the Authority’s decision and will appeal.

The full text of the ACGM decisions is available here: For Apple and Google.

The Italian regulator has had a busy few days slapping big tech: earlier this week it fined Apple and Amazon $ 230 million (total) for alleged collusion around the sale of Apple kits in the Italian market from Amazon.

It has also stepped up its investigations of tech giants over a period of several years. Earlier this year, it fined Facebook over similar issues with its commercial use of people’s data, while this summer it fined Google $ 123 million related to Android Auto. He also has an open investigation into Google’s display advertising activities.

Other fines imposed by ACGM in recent years include a fine for Apple related to deceiving iPhone users about the device’s water resistance and another for Apple and Samsung for slowing down devices.

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