If you have had enough of tracking / ad tracking, and its often opaque character, which gives the impression of not controlling much, the latest update to iOS 14.5 developed by Apple promises to give you back control by advertising tracking. With the launch of iOS 14.5 on April 26, 2021, all your apps will need to ask you for the following permission, in a pop-up: “Do you want to allow this app to track your activity on other companies’ apps and websites?” ? And of course, it will be possible to give a negative answer.
Apple wants to give its users a choice
Many of the major crises relating to the privacy of user personal data that have arisen in recent years are not due to lapses or non-compliance with the rules, but rather all the opaque practices and rules regarding how companies share. user data, and track these users through the services for targeted advertising. Marketers assign an identifier to your device, then monitor your behavior on the web and in the use of applications on different platforms to generate composite profiles of information, both demographic, but also concerning the habits of the user. shopping and other types of events. Apple has already taken a strong stand in the fight against ad tracking in its Safari browser, and this iOS update is now fighting the battle in the Kuwait WhatsApp Number List field. While this step may seem relatively trivial to iPhone users, it is nevertheless the subject of deep controversy with companies whosethe vast majority of revenue is based on advertising revenue, like Facebook.
For Jason Kint, CEO of digital publishing company Digital Content Next, this is an important and impactful initiative, as the digital advertising industry has been built primarily from micro-targeting audiences. Facebook, for example, has code embedded in millions of applications to collect personal data, and offer perfectly targeted, tailor-made advertising, and Apple’s initiative makes this whole strategy obsolete.
iOS has already offered its users the ability to completely disable the system for sharing identifiers for advertisers, by removing the unique identifier on your phone, known as IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), which iOS gives out. to developers for in-app and cross-service monitoring. New requirements in iOS 14.5 require all applications to ask users individually through Apple’s “App Tracking Transparency” framework, so that they have more precise control over privacy settings. This allows you to grant permission for certain apps to track your data if, for example, you would prefer to see personalized ads on a particular service.
Katie Skinner, head of user privacy for Apple software, told Apple’s global developer conference last June that tracking should always be transparent and under user control. She added that in the future, App Store policy will require apps to ask permission before tracking consumers on apps and websites owned by other companies.
New iOS pop-ups / pop-ups can include a short message explaining why a developer wants users to turn on tracking, which is basically a walkthrough of the potential benefits. And those pop-ups won’t appear if a developer follows you on their own services, like Facebook following you from their main platforms on Messenger and Instagram. It can be assumed that platforms owned by the same parent company will share or could share data. And this is indeed the biggest problem that Apple wants to solve: the tracking of services where users are not aware of the existing relationships between different services belonging to the same entity.
Facebook clearly shows its opposition
We notice that the name of Facebook appears frequently when examples of the impact of Apple’s initiative are mentioned. This is because the largest social network in the world has clearly spoken out against this initiative, and has even shown aggression in its objections to Apple. Facebook CFO Dave Wehner has raised concerns about IDFA privacy initiatives numerous times since late 2019. And last December, Facebook ran an ad campaign in newspapers where we could read: “We want to stand up to Apple, for all small businesses around the world.” And a website associated with the Facebook campaign posted the following statement: “Apple’s latest update threatens the personalized ads that millions of small businesses rely on to find and reach customers. “
Facebook also disputes the way in which Apple characterizes this type of sharing of personal data. For the American social network, it should indeed not be qualified as “follow-up”. In fact, in its support documents for developers and businesses, Facebook refers to it as “what Apple defines as tracking”.
Apple right in his boots
Apple CEO Tim Cook responded by tweeting the following message: “We believe that users should have a choice about the data collected that relates to their privacy and use. Facebook can continue to follow users on apps and websites as before. But the desire for tracking transparency for apps used in the latest version of iOS 14 will simply require them to first ask users for permission by making a tracking request. “
Apple initially planned to ask developers to support ATT (Apple Tracking Transparency) for the launch of iOS 14 in September 2020. Instead, the US mobile giant launched an addition to iOS 14 in December 2020, via its “Privacy Labels” application, which represented a further step in providing users with precise information on the level of confidentiality they could expect from their favorite apps. But with all the negative reactions expressed by the industry, Apple has decided to delay the implementation of its ATT, and to give developers time to make the necessary changes.
While the changes to data tracking in iOS 14.5 are significant, they don’t extend beyond the isolation that iOS represents: platforms like Android and most web browsers will still allow data tracking. , much to the satisfaction of marketers. But with its Apple Tracking Transparency, the firm created by Jobs, Wozniak and Wayne is launching a potential bomb whose triggering could give rise to much more significant upheavals.