• Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Google and Apple, 20 million penalties from Antitrust


Nov 26, 2021

The Competition and Market Authority closed two investigations against Google Ireland and Apple Distribution International, sanctioning both of 10 million euros, the maximum allowed according to current legislation. The Antitrust has ascertained for each company two violations of the Consumer Code, one due to lack of information and another due to aggressive practices related to the acquisition and use of consumer data for commercial purposes. A note from the authority communicates it. Google bases its economic activity on the offer of a wide range of products and services connected to the Internet – which include technologies for online advertising, search tools, cloud computing, software and hardware – also based on user profiling and carried out thanks to their data. Apple collects, profiles and uses user data for commercial purposes through the use of its devices and services. Therefore, explains the Antitrust in the note, even without proceeding to any transfer of data to third parties, Apple directly exploits the economic value through a promotional activity to increase the sale of its products and / or those of third parties through its platforms. commercial App Store, iTunes Store and Apple Books. In these contexts, the Authority held that there is a consumption relationship between users and the two operators, even in the absence of a monetary outlay, the consideration for which is represented by the data they transfer using the services of Google and Apple. Authorities ascertained that both Google and Apple have not provided clear and immediate information on the acquisition and use of user data for commercial purposes. In particular, Google, both in the account creation phase, which is essential for the use of all the services offered, and during the use of the services themselves, omits relevant information that the consumer needs to consciously decide to accept that the company collects and uses their personal information for commercial purposes. Apple, both in the phase of creating the Apple ID and on the occasion of accessing the Apple Stores (App Store, iTunes Store and Apple Books), does not immediately and explicitly provide the user with any indication on the collection and use of your data for commercial purposes, emphasizing only that data collection is necessary to improve the consumer experience and use of services. With the second practice, the Authority ascertained that the two companies have implemented an aggressive practice. In particular, in the account creation phase, Google pre-sets the user’s acceptance of the transfer and / or use of their data for commercial purposes. This pre-activation allows the transfer and use of data by Google, once they are generated, without the need for other steps in which the user can from time to time confirm or change the choice pre-set by the In the case of Apple, on the other hand, the promotional activity is based on a method of acquiring consent to the use of user data for commercial purposes without providing the consumer with the possibility of a prior and express choice about sharing their data . This acquisition architecture, prepared by Apple, does not make it possible to exercise one’s will on the use of one’s data for commercial purposes. Therefore, the consumer is conditioned in the choice of consumption and undergoes the transfer of personal information, which Apple can dispose of for its own promotional purposes carried out in different ways.

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