Italy’s Antitrust Watchdog Fines Apple $11 Million for Aggressive Commercial Use of Customer Data

BY Anu Joy

Published 26 Nov 2021

Italy’s antitrust regulator slapped a fine of $11 million (10 million euros) each on Apple and Google for alleged “aggressive practices” involving the commercial use of user data.

According to the Italian authority’s press release, it determined that both companies violated the country’s consumer code by withholding information and using consumer data for commercial purposes. It claimed that Apple collects, profiles, and exploits user data to boost its own sales and/or those of third parties through the App Store, iTunes store, and Apple Books.

Furthermore, the watchdog ascertained that both Apple and Google did not make it immediately clear to the user that the companies use the data 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. (Machine translated)

For instance, the App Store only tells users that it may use some of their data to “enable features, secure our services, or personalize your experience.”

A few days back, Apple and Amazon were handed a fine of over 200 million euros ($225 million) by the Italian antitrust authority for anti-competitive cooperation pertaining to the sale of Apple and Beats products. It ordered the companies to stop restricting sales of the products to select authorized resellers only, and to allow all authorized retailers to sell them on Amazon Italy. The iPhone maker had to pay a 10 million euro fine last year as well, over misleading claims about iPhone’s water-resistance.

Apple hasn’t yet released an official statement regarding today’s fine.