Like many parts of the world, Europe is trying to strengthen protections for consumer privacy.
While the region’s landmark privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), requires websites to ask users for permission to be tracked online, many companies make it harder to refuse consent than grant it.
“The problem with the GDPR is that it’s not being enforced properly, and therefore people don’t have a real choice,” Alexandra Geese, a German member of the European Parliament, told Wired.
Geese is just one European lawmaker drafting strict legislation in an effort to fix the internet’s opt-out function.
As the Parliament ponders how to protect internet users, Geese has embraced a system developed by Apple.
Last year, the tech giant introduced a feature that limits the amount of data third-party firms can collect, offering Apple users greater privacy. App Tracking Transparency, the newest add-on feature, disables the ad tracking setting by default and requires app developers to seek users’ permission to turn it on.
Data has revealed as many as 98% of iPhone users took advantage of the opportunity to opt out. Proponents of the feature in the Parliament said that is clear evidence that people would choose to protect their privacy if they had the chance.
“I really believe that privacy shouldn’t only be an option for people who can afford premium devices or premium Apple products,” Tiemo Wölken, a member of the European Parliament, said.
Last week, a majority of the Parliament approved an amendment to the Digital Services Act (DSA), which says refusing consent for ad tracking must be no more difficult than providing it.