App Tracking Transparency, released with iOS 14.5, forces developers to display a pop-up dialog to ask if they want their data to be collected for purposes such as advertising. UOKiK questions its possible role in eliminating competitors.
Tomasz Chróstny, the President of UOKiK:
The actions of digital giants are a challenge for antitrust authorities all around the world. During the course of our investigation, we want to examine whether Apple’s actions may be aimed at eliminating competitors in the market for personalised advertising services, the objective being to better sell their own service. We will investigate whether this is a case of exclusionary abuse of market power.
The news comes after an update last week, when a report revealed that Apple seemingly allows tracking of its customers as long as the data remains in aggregate.
These companies point out that Apple has told developers they “may not derive data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it.” This means they can observe “signals” from an iPhone at a group level, enabling ads that can still be tailored to “cohorts” aligning with certain behavior but not associated with unique IDs.
“It is not clear whether Apple has actually blessed these solutions. Apple declined to answer specific questions for this article but described privacy as its North Star, implying it was setting a general destination rather than defining a narrow pathway for developers.”