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Apple Faces Antitrust Complaint in Germany Over Privacy Features in iOS 14.5

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According to CNBC, the German Advertising Federation, ZAW, has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition regulator, over new privacy features coming in iOS 14.5.

iOS 14.5–which released today–ships with App Tracking Transparency (ATT), a new privacy feature that will let iOS users decide whether or not they are comfortable with an app on their phone tracking them across other apps for advertising purposes.

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According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company is “not against digital marketing“, but rather wants to put control over their data and who has access to it back in the hands of its customers.

Naturally, Apple has gotten quite a lot of grief over its latest privacy feature from advertising giants and those who previously enjoyed unfettered and unprecedented access to user data (we’re looking at you, Facebook), exploiting it without most users knowing the exact extent and value of the data being siphoned from them.

The new feature will hit the online advertising business hard, rendering many presently used strategies for targeted advertisements useless.

“Through these unilaterally imposed measures, Apple effectively excludes all competitors from processing commercially relevant data in the Apple ecosystem”, said ZAW said in a press release.

“At the same time, however, the group excludes its own (advertising) services from the planned changes and collects significant amounts of user data itself”, the collective added.

On behalf of the nine industry associations it represents, including Facebook and media giant Axel Springer, ZAW has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple, alleging that the tech giant is using its market share to do away with the competition.

Apple faced a similar complaint in France last month, but the authorities ultimately ruled in the pro-privacy company’s favour.

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