French watchdog rejects challenge to Apple privacy changes

French watchdog rejects challenge to Apple privacy changes
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A French watchdog on Wednesday rejected a challenge from advertising groups over Apple’s plan to launch a privacy update that will require apps to gain user consent before tracking their online behavior. 

The French competition watchdog said Apple’s impending launch of its App Tracking Transparency feature “did not appear as an abusive practice.” 

Apple has said the feature is set to be released in early spring. It will require apps to ask users to opt in before allowing the apps to track them across different websites, limiting the reach of targeted ads. 

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The complaint associations argued Apple’s requirement would impose unfair trading conditions on app developers by imposing additional obligations on them. They had requested the watchdog order Apple not to require the update in an interim measure. 

“The Autorité therefore rejects the request for interim measures. However, it continues the investigation into the merits of the case,” the watchdog said. 

The watchdog noted that Apple’s update was not “immediately implemented.” Apple had initially slated the feature to be launched in September but delayed the rollout, saying it would give developers time to update their systems and data practices. 

Apple is also facing fierce pushback from Facebook over the impending update. 

Facebook launched an ad campaign bashing the update as detrimental to small businesses. 

Facebook itself reported 98 percent of its total revenue last year came from advertising, and the company warned in its most recent quarterly earnings report of challenges posed by the impending Apple update.