Now We Know Why Apple Apologized For The Siri Listening Fiasco… They’re Facing A Really, REALLY, Big GDPR Fine

Earlier this week, Apple apologized for the Siri listening fiasco. At the time I said this:

Wow. An apology from Apple. Mind blown.

I said that because Apple is notorious for not apologizing for anything unless it was in their best interests to do so. Now we might have a clue what those interests are via the Irish Examiner:

The Data Protection Commission has sought further details from Apple after it was revealed by the Irish Examiner that employees at a third-party company in Cork were listening to recordings collected from Siri.

Companies found to be in serious breach of GDPR obligations may be liable to face penalties of up to €20m, or 4% of its annual global turnover, whichever is higher.

That’s what I love about the GDPR. If you run afoul of it, you’re going to pay and pay big. This must have sent Apple into full panic mode and before you can say “there’s one more thing” out comes an apology from Apple. Which I suspect is either meant to stop them from having to cut a pretty large cheque or cut down the size of the cheque that they would have to write. How large would that cheque be? According to this, Apple’s annual turnover…. which is another term for revenue….. was $265.6 billion USD in 2018. So 4% of that is $10.62 billion USD. That’s about the size of Apple’s profits a single quarter over the last little while, and is more than the €20m floor that the GDPR specifies as a punishment. Once you see that, Apple’s apology suddenly makes sense.

So, will Apple get slapped with a fine? Well, by the time the person doing the slapping makes a statement like this, it would imply that a fine is inbound to 1 Apple Park:

This statement issued by Apple will be taken into account during the “engagement” between the company and the Data Protection Commission, added a spokesperson for the commission.

Good luck to you Apple. You’re going to need it.



One Response to “Now We Know Why Apple Apologized For The Siri Listening Fiasco… They’re Facing A Really, REALLY, Big GDPR Fine”

  1. […] changes to their operating systems to give users more control over this. Though the fact that they may have been facing a significant fine might have had something to do with all of […]

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