Apple Inc. France Watched By Data Regulators

Apple Inc. France Watched By Data Regulators
ElisaRiva / Pixabay

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Retail France Company has been under watch by France’s data regulator for the last year, and apparently the watch continues. According to The Global Legal Post, Apple received the first public notice about the video surveillance system that’s installed in its Opera Apple Store in Paris in December 2013.

Apple asked to redirect cameras

In that first notice, regulators requested that Apple redirect some of its cameras. Specifically, the French Data Protection Authority (the CNIL) targeted the cameras located in employee-only areas. The agency also asked Apple to inform employees that the video surveillance system is in use.

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Apple’s Opera store did fix the problems, but regulators noted the same issues in other Apple retail stores in France. As a result, the CNIL sent another public notice to the company about 16 of its retail locations in the country.

Apple’s obligations

French regulators said any company that installs surveillance cameras must tell employees that the system is in use and explain procedures relating to the right of access to the videos. Additionally, the company must respect workers’ right to privacy, not film employees at their work stations or in break areas or restrooms. Companies may only collect video necessary “for the pursuit of the predefined purposes of such a processing,” according to the report.

The CNIL said all of the 16 French Apple stores it investigated found existing cameras in sensitive areas like near access doors or locked safes. Regulators also found cameras around employees’ work stations, circulation spaces, break areas and the coatroom.

Investigators also found that Apple did inform employees that a video surveillance system is in use in its internal bylaws, which they receive upon their hiring. However, the information in some stores was supplemented by a display that’s “hardly visible” and located in public areas. Also officials said Apple did not provide complete information according to legal requirements in France.

Apple not sanctioned yet

French regulators have ordered Apple to make sure each camera’s implementation “is not disproportionate to its purpose” and doesn’t permanently video tape employees. In order to comply, Apple must adopt masking measures or reposition cameras unless there is some kind of extraordinary circumstances related to the nature of the workers’ tasks.

They also ordered the company to inform workers that there’s a video surveillance system in use in a display posted in a public employee-only area. The posting must also explain employees’ rights in terms of being able to access the videos.

Apple does not face any penalties at this time. However, regulators could sanction the company if it fails to comply with the orders.

Not the first time Apple France got in trouble

Last year Apple also faced some antitrust allegations in France. Officials raided the company’s French headquarters. They accused Apple of abusing its dominance, unfair competition and abusing economic dependence.

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Michelle Jones is editor-in-chief for and has been with the site since 2012. Previously, she was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Email her at
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  1. Apple isn’t the same company it was in the past. Apple layed off it’s engineering teams and started using customers as guinea pigs for QA testing. Also, employees and customers alike have filed suits, and jumped on the bandwagon. There’s a lot of money to be made!

    Point is, Tim Cook would prefer to have a hands-off approach to running Apple; In fact, Tim’s counterpart in Legal makes double the CEO’s salary. What this appears to mean is that Apple prefers input from courts to make long-term decisions related to company operations.

    Take for example, the videotaped evidence used in the RealPlayer US court case. The dead guy who setup the tax evading structure still runs the company. The current CEO can’t speak to decisions made.

    So yes, It’s free-range season, and the Apple pinata is strung up on a tree. Grab a stick, and take a swing. If you prefer to sit on the bench, you’ll only miss the opportunity.

  2. If you look up the Muslim population in France; the % is as astonishing as the UK. But France has ties and language connections to Africa; especially in the Northern countries.
    France is a liberal society and must accommodate these people.
    What is interesting however, is that despite the Muslim population in the UK; since they are not so liberal; burkas are illegal in public buildings and stores; making them identifiable on camera for security reasons. And well justified. It has nothing to do with anything more than hiding your identity. If you owned a store and someone walked in wearing a ski mask; the first thing you would reach for is your gun.

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