Apple Wins Massive Privacy Victory for iPhone Users


Social media network TikTok tried to bypass Apple’s application tracking transparency measures, in coordination with other Chinese tech companies, but Apple called their bluff. Believing that Apple would not be able to block their apps, especially in the Chinese region, apps such as TikTok and QQ attempted to switch to the Chinese Advertising Identifier, or CAID, to bypass tracking transparency measures. apps that put iPhone users in control. which apps can track their internet usage and which cannot. The belief stemmed from the certainty that Apple would not be able to ban the incredibly popular apps in China. This is exactly what Apple has done, blocking updates for applications that use CAID from the App Store. The Financial Times reports that Chinese tech companies, including Baidu, Tencent and Bytedance, have been working on a new way to track iPhone users, for advertising purposes.

These moves to block app updates from popular Chinese tech companies like Baidu, Tencent and Bytedance must be seen as a big win for Apple in the fight for data privacy. It also naps any potential criticism in the bud if Apple had allowed the alternative tracking mechanism to remain in place in China. It could also have led to a situation where tech companies in other countries implemented similar measures, leading to a weakening of the transparency functionality of application tracking and the promotion of user data privacy. In May this year, data from analytics firm Flurry Analytics suggested that globally only 15% of iPhone users have now allowed apps to track them on their iPhones, up from perhaps l ‘entire smartphone demographics, which had no control over how apps tracked them to collect data to serve ads. The membership rate in the United States is even lower, now at just 6%. Apple previously warned Chinese apps not to sidestep its privacy rules.

Apple introduced app tracking transparency measures earlier this year for iPhone users, which protected users from apps that tracked them on other apps and websites, without explicit permission. This gave users the control to deny apps permission to track their usage, which would restrict what data those apps could collect and then serve targeted ads. Online ads are a major source of income for many technology platforms, including Facebook. And in light of the attempts made with CAID, for some Chinese technology companies as well. The way the app tracking transparency feature will work is that when you open an app on your iPhone, for the first time, or after an update, you will be asked: “Allow XYZ to track your app activity and the websites of other companies? The two options you will have at this point would be “Ask the application not to track” or “Allow”.

The reason for the development of CAID was to allow applications to follow an alternate route to continue following users on other applications and websites, even if they selected “Ask application not to follow” on the layer. default privacy policy in iOS. So how does CAID work? I’ll let the experts take over here. “Shared platform identifiers, such as IDFA on iOS and Google Advertising ID on Android, are ideal for measuring digital advertising. This is because the same ID is available for all events, so it’s easy to connect ad keys to conversions, ”said Alex Bauer, Product Marketing Manager at Branch, in a column for Adexchanger, published earlier this year. “But after Apple’s ATT policy comes into effect, IDFAs will be unavailable in the vast majority of cases, which means these traditional measurement streams will be discontinued. CAID is essentially an open standard intended to function as an instant IDFA replacement, ”he added. The CAID tool was developed by the Chinese State-sponsored Advertising Association. Apple continues to maintain that all apps that violate its policies will be kicked out of the App Store.

There are issues brewing for the global online advertising space. Google has also set the wheels in motion for measures similar to the transparency of Apple’s app tracking, for Android phone users. Eventually, when Google’s own iteration of Application Tracking Prevention goes into effect, advertisers and apps that request access to Ad IDs on Android phones if a user has chosen to turn off tracking, will instead receive a string of zeros. Google is now notifying the developer of the planned changes. Until now, users could also turn off personalized advertising on Android (Settings> Google> Ads> Turn off ad personalization), which prevented apps from retrieving your Advertising ID to serve personalized ads. However, these identifiers are also used by applications and developers for data such as usage analysis and fraud prevention, especially for payment applications, which link device identifiers to payment methods. payment.

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