By Pádraig Hoare
Apple has said users of its devices should have no reason to worry about how it uses their data ahead of the EU implementing the new data protection law in May.
The world’s most valuable technology firm said there was no chance of a data- harvesting scandal such as the one Facebook has found itself in. The €685bn company has released a new data privacy information and icon across its software in a bid to make users more aware of how their data is used, ahead of the EU’s general data protection regulation which becomes law in May.
The new software update is being pushed worldwide for users of its devices. Apple executives said the purpose of the update was to make it easier to understand how it will use customers’ data when they sign in or turn on new features. The firm’s technical experts have been moving to reassure investors and users that its use of customer data has always been compliant with the spirit of the data regulation and that it has never shared data with third parties in the way that other tech companies such as Facebook have. Apple insiders say it will not change its practices on data storage, saying it “already met the criteria of data regulation for years”.
The data regulation was ratified in 2016 following four years of negotiation, replacing the existing directive on data protection. Unlike an EU directive, which can be implemented over a certain time, the regulation is made law once it begins in May, meaning penalties can be imposed from day one.
The regulation is designed to harmonise data privacy laws in Europe and to protect citizens’ data privacy. It not only applies to organisations within the EU but also to firms that do business inside member states.
If companies fail to comply with the regulation, they can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover, or €20m.