The Italian Competition Authority has sanctioned Google and Apple for 10 million euros. The Antitrust Authority has ascertained two violations of the Consumer Code for both companies, one due to lack of information and another due to aggressive practices related to the acquisition and use of consumer data for commercial purposes. The companies have stated that they will appeal, considering the Authority’s examination to be wrong.
Apple’s response came in an official note: “We believe the Authority’s opinion is wrong and we will appeal the decision. Apple has long been committed to protecting the privacy of our users and we work hard to design products and features that protect data. We give all users an industry-leading level of transparency and control, so they can choose what information to share, and how it is used. “
Google also announced: “We disagree with the Authority’s decision and we will appeal.” ‘We follow fair and transparent practices to provide our users with useful services, as well as provide clear information on their use. We offer individuals the ability to manage their information with simple tools, including to limit the use of personal data, and we work hard to fully comply with consumer protection regulations. We do not agree with the decision of the Authority and we will appeal “.
As explained by the Antitrust, Google bases its economic activity on the offer of a wide range of products and services connected to the Internet. Apple collects, profiles and uses user data for commercial purposes through the use of its devices and services. Therefore, even without proceeding to any transfer of data to third parties, Apple exploits its economic value through a promotional activity to increase the sale of its products and / or those of third parties through its commercial platforms App Store, iTunes Store and Apple. Books. In these contexts, the Authority held that there is a consumption relationship between the 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.
In particular, Google, both in the account creation phase and during the use of the services themselves, omits relevant information that the consumer needs to consciously decide to accept that the Company collects their personal information. Apple, both in the phase of creating the Apple ID and when 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 the your data for commercial purposes, emphasizing only that data collection is necessary to improve the consumer experience.
Furthermore, 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 allows the transfer and use of data by Google without the need for other steps in which the user can from time to time confirm or change the choice pre-set by the company.
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 on 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.