Privacy activists target Apple's tracking tool

Apple faces a new battle over privacy in the EU.

A group led by activist Max Schrems on Monday (November 16) filed complaints in Germany and Spain over the the firm’s online tracking tool.

They say it allows iPhones to store users’ data without their consent.

There was no immediate comment from Apple on the news, but the tech giant maintains that it offers users a superior level of privacy protection.

The complaints centre on a tracking code that is automatically generated on every iPhone when it is set up.

That allows Apple and advertisers to track the user’s online behaviour - vital in allowing the likes of Facebook to target advertising.

But the activists say that’s a clear breach of the EU’s e-Privacy Directive, which requires consent before the installation and use of such a code.

Apple had planned to tighten privacy rules in its latest operating system, iOS 14.

But the change has been delayed until early next year, and activists say the new rules won’t solve the problem anyway.

They would only restrict third-party access to data, not Apple’s.

Now the activists say they want to establish a clear precedent that tracking should be the exception, not the rule.

National regulators also have the power to fine Apple if they decide that it has breached the e-Privacy Directive.