Google and Apple fined in Italy for data collection practices

The Italian competition regulator has Posted 20 million euros in fine to Google LLC and Apple Inc. for the way the two tech giants collect consumer data through their respective services.

Each company was ordered to pay 10 million euros, or approximately 11.32 million dollars. The sum represents the maximum penalty that can be imposed for the type of problems identified in companies’ business practices, Italy’s competition regulator said today.

“The Antitrust Authority found for each company two violations of the consumer code, one for lack of information and the other for aggressive practices related to the acquisition and use of consumer data for purposes commercial, “said the regulator in a translated statement obtained by Appleinsider.

Most of the issues identified by the regulator relate to the way the two tech giants ask consumers for permission to use their data during the account creation process.

Google, the regulator said, does not properly inform consumers who create a Google account that their data will be collected and processed for commercial purposes. Officials also found flaws in the method Google used during the account creation process to obtain permission from consumers to process and transfer their data.

In Apple’s case, it has also been determined that the iPhone maker does not share enough details about its data collection practices when users sign up for an Apple ID. In addition, the Italian competition regulator concluded that the interface parameters provided by the iPhone manufacturer to accept data collection do not meet regulatory requirements.

It was further determined that Google and Apple do not share enough information about their data collection practices after the account creation phase, while consumers are using their respective services.

Google and Apple have both indicated they intend to appeal.

“We have transparent and fair practices in order to provide our users with useful tools and clear information on their use”, Google Recount TechCrunch today. “We give people simple controls to manage their information and limit the use of personal data, and we work hard to be fully compliant with consumer protection rules. We do not agree with the Authority’s decision and will appeal.

Apple issued a statement saying that “we believe the Authority’s view is wrong and will appeal the decision. Apple has a long-standing commitment to the privacy of our users, and we work incredibly hard to design products and features that protect customer data. We provide state-of-the-art transparency and control to all users so they can choose what information to share or not, and how it is used.

For Google and Apple, the sanctions represent the second time in a year that they have been fined by the Italian competition regulator.

Google was ordered to pay 100 million euros in May for blocking an electric car charging application from its Android Auto service. Android Auto allows users to access mobile applications through the built-in screens of their cars. Previously, Apple was fined 10 million euros after being find for misleading consumers about the water resistance characteristics of the iPhone.

Picture: Unsplash

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