The consumer rights activist Max Schrems has filed a formal privacy case against Apple, arguing that an ID generated by iPhones that lets advertisers track users violates privacy regulations.
Schrems, whose lawsuit against Facebook led to a landmark ruling restricting data transfers from the EU to the US, has made the case through his privacy rights non-profit Noyb, which has filed formal complaints in Spain and Berlin against Apple.
At the core of the complaint is Apple’s generation of the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) on each iPhone. Advertisers can then use the IDFA to track users across various apps, and better target them for personalised advertising.
The idea behind the tool is to improve user privacy by stopping advertisers using other identifiers to track users, and allowing users to reset the IDFA at will.
But, Noyb argues, simply generating it could breach EU privacy law, since it is created without the user’s “knowledge or consent”. And while users are given control over whether they reset the identifier, and allowed to prevent individual apps from accessing it, they cannot, Noyb says, prevent it from being generated in the first place.