European Union's antitrust chief warns Apple about new privacy features

Apple Privacy Day Privacy Logo
Apple Privacy Day Privacy Logo (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Margrethe Vestager, the EU's antitrust chief, wants Apple to level the playing field on privacy.
  • Vestager wants to ensure Apple's privacy features apply to itself as well.

As reported by Reuters, Margrethe Vestager, the EU's antitrust chief, is warning Apple to keep the playing field equal for all apps on its platform as the company moves to turn on new privacy protections for users.

Facebook has been a vocal critic of Apple's new privacy protections, saying that they will hurt Facebook's business as well as advertisers and small businesses. Vestager admits she has not received any complaints so far from Apple's changes but asserts that Apple must ensure that any limits it puts on third-party apps must be also applied to its own.

Vestager said while the issue is privacy-related, it can morph into an antitrust issue if Apple tilts the level playing field."It can be competition if it is shown that Apple is not treating its own apps in the same way," she told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Apple iPhone Privacy Ad

Apple iPhone Privacy Ad (Image credit: Apple)

Vestager actually said that Apple's new opt-in stance is similar to proposals that she has worked on for Europe.

"It is a very good thing to have a clear opt-out option. If you look at the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, these are some of the solutions we are looking at there."

Facebook has been on a campaign against Apple's new privacy protections, which require apps to ask permission from their users to allow tracking. That campaign has not been going well, however. Just recently, the Harvard Business Review found that numbers Facebook used in a campaign against the company were false.

Notably, Tim Cook just recently gave a speech on privacy at the European Union's Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection conference. Apple was not available for comment at the time of the Reuters article's publication.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.