Italy’s antitrust watchdog, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), fined tech titans Google and Apple about $11.3 million each for over Consumer Code violations. The watchdog found the two tech companies did not provide users with enough clarity about information on their data’s commercial usage, which is in violation of the consumer code of the country.
The AGCM has also accused the duo of using ‘aggressive’ practices that pushed their users to accept commercial processing. Apple has been accused of not being able to provide users with clear information about how their data is used commercially when users access Apple’s digital stores (like the App Store) or create an Apple ID.
On the other hand, the search engine giant has been accused by the regulator of not disclosing relevant information at the phase of account creation about consumers using Google’s services. The AGCM says that the information should be provided to the people so that they can decide whether they consent to its use for their commercial ends.
More on the Italian watchdog’s accusations
The AGCM announced the sanctions against Google and Apple together in a press release. It accused the technology giants of being aggressive especially in pushing their self-serving commercial gains.
For Google – the Italian regulator said that Google pre-sets the acceptance of commercial processing of its users. The AGCM also said that the advertising technology company did not provide a way for its users to revoke consent for the data transfers or even change their choice post the account setup is completed.
For Apple – the AGCM noted that Apple’s way of working denies users the ability to exercise its choice over commercial use of data. The watchdog says that the iOS developer company’s data acquisition process basically conditions its users to accept Apple’s commercial terms.
Apple & Google’s response to Italy’s AGCM
A spokeswoman for Google disagreed with the AGCM’s accusations and said in a statement that Google has very transparent and fair practices to provide Google users with helpful tools as well as clear information about the usage of Google products.
Google gives its users simple controls for managing their information and limiting personal data use, and the company also works hard to be entirely compliant with the consumer protection rules. The spokeswoman added that the search giant disagrees with the watchdog’s decision and that it will appeal.
Apple also released a similar statement saying that it believes the watchdog’s view is incorrect and that Apple will be appealing the decision. The iPhone-maker has a long-standing commitment towards the privacy of its users and it works incredibly hard to design products and features that protect customer data.
It provides industry-leading transparency and control to its users so that they can choose what information they want to share or not, as well as how it is used.
The Italian Competition Authority has had a busy few days slamming the big tech companies. Earlier this week, the watchdog also issued a total of $230 million in penalties for Apple and e-commerce giant Amazon over alleged collusion with regards to the sale of Apple kit on the Italian marketplace of Amazon.
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