Apple’s App Tracking Transparency seems to not apply to Apple itself, find German regulators, and that’s an issue

Apple (as well as other tech giants) have been subject to multiple investigations, mainly for reasons of anti-competitive practices. Now, however, a new investigation is underway, reports AppleInsider. And this time, it surprisingly (or not really) singles out App Tracking Transparency, one of Apple‘s highly-used privacy features.

Is App Tracking Transparency anti-competitive? German regulators aim to find out

App Tracking Transparency, or ATT for short, was launched back in April last year with iOS 14.5 as a means for users to block third-party app tracking. If you decide to opt-out of tracking, iOS blocks trackers from following you around on the internet (well, these are not people but a sort of identifiers that collect data) with the purpose of serving you targeted ads.As you may imagine, the service hurt some advertisers and businesses, including Facebook, one of its most vocal criticizers. And now it seems German regulators are raising their brows at it, ready to examine if it is hurting competition.

The investigation is going to be led by the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office. The regulator body shared the information in a statement, claiming that Apple should make pro-competitive rules, given its ‘paramount’ position over its ecosystem.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office, stated that it seems Apple’s rules of App Tracking Transparency apply only to third-party apps, but not to Apple. And yes, theoretically speaking, this gives Apple the possibility to give preference to its own offers and ads. Label – possibly anti-competitive.

According to the preliminary findings of the German regulator body, Apple is indeed not subjected to the rules of ATT. The investigation will deep dive into that, and determine whether or not this action will be found as going against healthy competition.

From what it seems, Apple, as well as other tech giants, including Google, are getting investigation after investigation. Recently, it was the UK that launched a new investigation effort. The US is also working on regulations to promote competition and limit tech giants’ reach.

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