Poland’s competition watchdog launched an investigation into the latest privacy policy introduced by Apple, seeking to explore whether restrictions in user data tracking by third parties is an attempt by the company to eliminate market rivalry.

In a statement, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) explained its president Tomasz Chrostny initiated the probe into whether privacy updates in devices running iOS 14.5 and later versions have restricted competition.

The Polish authority claims the amendments implemented by Apple reduced the ability of third-party apps to obtain personal data on iOS for targeted adverts, but it is not verified whether collection of user data has ceased and if consumers still receive personalised commercials.

“At the same time, doubts have arisen as to whether the rules established by Apple were not designed to promote their own advertising service, Apple Search Ads, which could be a violation of competition principles”, UOKiK argued, adding the probe is not directed against any particular “entrepreneur” rather than the practice itself.

Chrostny commented the probe aimed to determine if Apple’s actions sought to eliminate competitors in the personalised ad services market to “better sell” its own offerings.

“We will investigate whether this is a case of exclusionary abuse of market power.”

Apple’s move requiring third-party developers to obtain users’ permission to track data for targeted adverts has been faced with criticism by competitors since the plan was announced in 2020, including from Facebook, Google and Snap.