Google and Apple may be under investigation by the FTC for alleged sale of user data

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The latest research that Apple and Google is under this time comes from four legislators, and this time we are talking about ad tracking IDs, reports The Wall Street Journal† Four lawmakers have reportedly filed for an FTC investigation into Google and Apple’s “harmful practices” for allegedly collecting personal data and making a profit from it.

FTC asked to investigate Google and Apple regarding ad-related tracking

You may have heard that last year, Apple introduced something called App Tracking Transparency that gave iPhone and iPad users the option to opt out of ad-related tracking. The move, which was vocally criticized by Facebook at the time, proved cost the social media platform a hefty sum of money and even caused Meta’s shares to plummet. But it seems four lawmakers still want the FTC to investigate Apple and Google. sen. Ron Wyden (D., Oregon), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D., NJ) and Rep. Sara Jacobs (D., Calif.), have sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan requesting an investigation into the two tech giants. Lawmakers allege that the two companies “deliberately facilitated” harmful practices of collecting and selling user data by building ad-specific tracking IDs into their mobile operating systems. Both Apple and Google have previously taken steps to provide users with more privacy options. As we mentioned above, Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency with iOS 14.5 last year, while Google plans to introduce new privacy restrictions on Android as well.

While the letter acknowledges this, it underscores that until recently, the tracking ID on Apple devices was enabled by default and the option to opt out was difficult for customers to find, while until recently, Google didn’t even offer an opt-out option. option and it still allows standard tracking.

A Google spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that the company does not sell user data and that such actions by developers are prohibited. Google also said the advertising ID was created to give users more control and developers a more personal way to monetize their apps.

As you may know, identifiers or tracking IDs are used so that you can get targeted ads. And while those identifiers are anonymous, the letter emphasizes that they can easily be traced back to the individuals who own the phones linked to them.

The letter to the FTC states:

It is still unclear whether the FTC will initiate the investigation as requested by the four lawmakers.

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