Apple is facing an antitrust complaint about the new iPhone privacy settings from a group of Germany’s largest and most powerful media and advertising companies. The German Advertising Federation, called ZAW, said on Monday that it had filed an antitrust complaint with the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, which confirmed to MarketWatch that it had received a complaint against Apple AAPL, + 0.10%.
The whistleblowers, which include eight associations in the media and communications industry, ZAW said, allege that Apple is abusing its market power and violating antitrust law through new changes to the iPhone’s privacy settings. Also read: The fate of Facebook’s business model may be in the hands of the supreme court of the European Union Plus: Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon could face multimillion-dollar fines under new EU technology regulations The changes, called App Tracking Transparency will go into effect with the iOS 14.5 software update scheduled for Monday. After the update, the applications will require the consent of the users to be tracked for advertising purposes, which is expected to harm the digital advertising industry as users choose not to participate. “With these unilaterally imposed measures, Apple effectively excludes all competitors from commercially relevant data processing in the Apple ecosystem,” ZAW said in a press release that has been translated. “At the same time, however, the group excludes its own (advertising) services from the planned changes and collects a considerable amount of user data.” The news was first reported by the Financial Times, which noted that Facebook FB, + 0.31% and Axel Springer, the media conglomerate that owns Bild and Insider, are among the companies represented by ZAW and industry associations. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.