Although the iPhone seems to protect users’ privacy against all third-party companies, Apple apparently uses the private information of its smartphone owners for advertising purposes.
The French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) fined Apple 8 million euros (about $8.5 million) a few days ago for illegally collecting data from iPhone owners to serve targeted ads without their consent.
The CNIL’s fine against Apple is an unusual sanction for the Cupertino-based tech giant, which has faced fewer privacy legal issues than its larger rivals. The iPhone maker has made privacy one of the strengths of its smartphones and uses the word privacy to sell more of the product. The company has always mentioned privacy on the iPhone in its big advertising billboards around the world. However, the French fine is another evidence that the company is not protecting its customers’ privacy as it claims.
The CNIL said in a statement that Apple did not obtain the consent of French users before using specific iPhone identifiers for advertising purposes. The fine of this regulatory organization refers especially to the advertisements of the App Store. In December, a French court fined the company more than $1 million due to business practices related to the App Store.
One of Apple’s spokespersons said about the fine issued by the CNIL to the company:
Apple may not be known as an advertising company, but that may change in the near future. The Cupertino-based tech giant has a dedicated advertising business that will generate about $5.4 billion in revenue this year, according to Insider Intelligence. Apple displays ads in some of its services, including the App Store, and is reportedly in talks to offer ads on Apple TV as well. We expect this business to grow tremendously in the future. After the iPhone maker crippled Facebook’s ad network with its app tracking transparency policy, it’s now in a prime position to expand its growing ad unit.