EU Deals Another Blow to Tracking Ads Industry

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It’s been over two years since a key piece of the tracking-ads’ industry’s consent collection apparatus was found to breach European Union’s data protection laws. A simple ‘yes or no’ to ad tracking is as much friction web users should get. Critics dub the whole cynical approach compliance theatre: An attempt by the ad industry to evade data protection law and keep tracking and profiling web users en masse by packaging systematic non-compliance inside an industry standard framework. However action requiring reform of the framework was suspended pending a final court ruling on the IAB’s appeal. Plus the European Data Protection Board is due to weigh in with guidance soon.

“Epic stands ready to challenge Apple’s deliberate defiance of court order regarding App Store compliance”

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But Apple’s compliance doesn’t give app makers the victory they had hoped, as the tech giant aims to still charge commissions on purchases made outside of apps — a decision Epic aims to challenge in court. The decision meant Apple had to remove the “anti-steering” clause from its agreement with App Store developers. Apple updated its App Store Guidelines following the Supreme Court’s decision but with a lot of caveats. For instance, users won’t be able to cancel their subscriptions within Apple’s App Store or request refunds — they’ll have to do this through the developer’s website. The developer lobbying group, Coalition for App Fairness, which also includes Epic, issued its own statement on Apple’s new App Store rules.

Triumphant Victory: Epic Games Emerges Victorious in Antitrust Conflict Against Google – What Awaits in the Future?

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Instead, what is immediately changing as a result of this ruling is the legality surrounding the app store business model itself — and potentially others. “What we know right now is that this is going to impact the walled garden business model Google and Apple and other companies have enjoyed for a while,” Swanson said. In fact, the legal risk from this business model may encourage other businesses to change, even without being dragged to court. Apple didn’t regularly engage in side deals (though it considered one with Netflix) nor did it pay developers to launch on its app store instead of theirs, as Apple only offers one route to app distribution: the App Store. “Just because it is your business model does not mean it is legal or that it’s right,” VanMeter pointed out.