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Austrian privacy activist brings complaints against Apple

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Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy activist, is taking Apple to court for violating European privacy rules.

Apple keeps users’ data without their permission, according to Schrems, who filed complaints in Germany and Spain.

Schrems and his non-profit organisation NOYB’s complaints are about IDFA (Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers), which “allows Apple and all apps on the phone to track a user and combine information about online and mobile behaviour,” NOYB explained in a press release.

“Apple’s operating system creates the IDFA without user’s knowledge or consent,” they said. “After its creation, Apple and third parties (…) can access the IDFA to track users’ behaviour, elaborate consumption preferences and provide personalised advertising.”

“Such tracking is strictly regulated by the EU ‘Cookie Law’,” NOYB wrote, “and requires the users’ informed and unambiguous consent.”

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“With our complaints we want to enforce a simple principle: trackers are illegal, unless a user freely consents,” said privacy lawyer Stefano Rossetti.

Schrems successfully sued Facebook for the second time, with the court ruling in favour of the so-called Privacy Shield, last July, prohibiting Facebook from sending data of European users to the United States.

He has also sued a series of other websites for sending data from the EU to the US, including the Belgian companies Neckermann (a travel agency), Bpost (the national postal service), Logic-Immo (a real estate website) and Flair (a women’s magazine).

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times