Amid Apple’s planned privacy changes that will require app developers to ask for permission before tracking users for advertising purposes, European Commission VP Margrethe Vestager today warned Apple that it must treat all apps equally, including its own.
In an interview with Reuters, Vestager said that if Apple is not treating its apps in the same way when it comes to the privacy requirements, “it can be competition” that could lead to antitrust issues.
Facebook, the most vocal opponent of Apple’s upcoming privacy changes, has claimed that Apple’s plans are anti-competitive because Apple’s own apps are exempt from the rules. Apple plans to force app developers to ask users before accessing the advertising identifier (IDFA) on user devices for ad tracking purposes, with the requirement to be enforced when iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are released.
Apple has clarified that the opt-out options apply to all developers who track users, including Apple, but Apple will not need to use the pop ups asking for permission because its advertising platform does not track users.
Vestager told Reuters that thus far, she has not received complaints about Apple’s changes, and that she thinks it’s a good move for privacy. “It is a very good thing to have a clear opt-out option. If you look at the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, these are some of the solutions we are looking at there,” she said.