Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Apple switches off the ‘open web’ by making it better

Apple has begun rejecting apps that ignore its new App Tracking Transparency policy as it moves ahead toward the launch of iOS 14.5.  

So, what’s happening?

Reports indicate Apple has started rejecting apps that ignore this new policy, which extends to iPhones, iPads, and tvOS. The policy requires that apps seek express permission to access the advertising identifier (IDFA) of a person’s iPhone in order to track them for ad targeting purposes. The policy also forbids developers from using other methods to track users.

This is set to come into full effect with the introduction of iOS 14.5, which we now expect to arrive next week — with a potential Apple event to follow.

The idea is that app users have the chance to deny permission to track them across other apps and websites. Instead, they are shown a message that asks for permission to do so, states that permitting it may enable a better experience, but still allows them to ask the app not to track them.

Apple is also warning developers that any sneaky attempts to sidestep this policy by hiding or obfuscating such identifiers within apps can lead to the termination of a developer’s account.

A dreadful attack on openness (not really)

Apple critics say the company is breaking the internet by making it harder for advertisers who make online experiences weird and spooky with surveillance advertising.  Strangely enough, the biggest critics seem to be the same entities that build their businesses around privacy erosion.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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