French Startup Lobby to File Privacy Complaint Against Apple

By McKenzie Carpenter Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Apple store in New York, New York.

Privacy is a huge concern for many people these days and it has become extremely valuable due to the fact that nearly everything can be found online for the world to see. France Digitale, a startup lobby, is expected to file a complaint against tech business giant Apple over privacy concerns.

The Complaint Against the Tech Business

France Digitale is a startup lobby that represents a large portion of French digital entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. In an unreleased seven-page complaint, the startup lobby is expected to file a claim against the tech company today over privacy concerns in the latest iOS 14 software. The accusations against the tech business will be filed with the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, or CNIL, as the software is allegedly breaching European Union (EU) rules.

In the complaint, France Digitale claims that iPhone users are asked whether they want to allow downloaded mobile apps to gather identifying information for targeted campaign ads. Default settings on the device allow the tech business to create its own targeted ad campaigns without clearly requesting user consent.

Regarding the allegations against Apple, CEO of the startup lobby Nicolas Brien said in an interview with Sifted that “We are using all legal tools that are in our hands in order to make them sit at the table and realize that they need to reset their relationship with startups...The very first legal tool is this complaint with the privacy watchdog, but there will be others.”

Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, it is clearly stated that all organizations collecting data must ask for permission from the subject user to collect data and how it is collected. Additionally, France Digitale also alleges that the tracking functionality by Apple allows the tech company to share the data the business collects with affiliated companies without informing users the company is doing so.

Responding to France Digitale’s accusations against the tech giant, an Apple spokesperson said, “The allegations in the complaint are patently false and will be seen for what they are, a poor attempt by those who track users to distract from their own actions and mislead regulators and policymakers.”

Other Apple Complaints

In March 2020, the tech company was fined $1.2 billion by French antitrust authorities as Apple was demonstrating anti-competitive behavior and was found guilty of creating cartels within its distribution network. A short time later, in June 2020, the UK launched an investigation into the company, specifically Apple Pay and the App Store, for anti-competitive behavior.

In early February 2021, France Digitale joined a special coalition, La Coalition for App Fairness, or CAF, to combat Apple’s monopolistic behavior. Less than a month later, Startup Savant reported the tech company was under investigation from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority for similar reasons to the June 2020 investigation.

In addition to these legal allegations, it was reported last month that Epic Games also filed a lawsuit in the EU against the tech business for antitrust violations.

About the Author

Headshot of McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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