A new privacy feature, called “App Tracking Transparency,” was released on Monday as part of the iPhone and iPad empowerment app update.
The anti-tracking shield installed on iOS 14.5 comes after a seven-month delay as Apple and Facebook attacked each other’s business practices and the motives for decisions that affect billions of people around the world.
“What this controversy shows more than anything else is that Facebook and Apple have great potential to keep gates in the market,” said Elizabeth Renieris, founding director of the Technology Ethics Lab at the University of Notre Dame.
But Apple says it is looking at the interests of more than 1 billion people currently using iPhones.
“Now is a good time to release this, both because of the growing amount of data they have on their devices, and their sensitivity (about privacy risks) is increasing, too,” Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s chief privacy engineer, told the Associated Press in an interview. .
Once the software update is installed – which most iPhone users do – even existing apps on the device will need to query and obtain permission to track online activities. That’s a major opposition to Facebook, especially in a series of full-page newspaper ads attacking Apple.
So far, Facebook and other apps have been able to perform their automatic monitoring on iPhones without users taking the time and trouble to enter their settings to block it – a process few people bother about.
“This is an important step for consumers to get the transparency and regulation they’ve been looking for,” said Daniel Barber, chief executive officer of DataGrail, a company that helps companies manage personal privacy.
In its attack on Apple’s anti-tracking controls, Facebook has criticized the move as an abuse of power designed to force more apps to charge for their services rather than rely on ads. Apple takes 15 to 30 percent of the total payments processed through the iPhone app.
Online tracking has long helped Facebook and thousands of other apps to find information about users’ interests and practices so that they can show personalized ads. While Facebook executives initially acknowledged Apple’s changes would probably reduce revenues by billions of dollars each year, the social media company made its public criticism as protecting small businesses relying on online ads to keep them alive.
Apple, on the other hand, has incorporated Facebook and other spy apps into people’s lives to the point that it has created a social problem.
In a speech given a few weeks after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed out how personal information collected by Facebook and other social media can sometimes push people into finding inaccurate information and hate speech as part of efforts to show more ads.
“What are the consequences of not only intolerance but rewarding content that undermines public trust in life-saving policies?” Asks Cook. “What are the consequences of seeing thousands of users join activist groups and pursue an algorithm that recommends more?”
It is part of Apple’s attempt to use the privacy issue to benefit the competition, Barber said, a strategy now expecting larger products to be adopted if new anti-tracking controls become more popular with more consumers.
With a change of voice, Facebook manager Mark Zuckerberg recently suggested that Apple’s new privacy controls could help his company in the long run. His reason: Failure to automatically track iPhone users may **** many companies sell their products directly on Facebook and related services such as Instagram if they are unable to collect enough personal information to target ads within their apps.
“We could be in a better position if Apple’s changes encourage more businesses to do business in our forums by making it harder for them to use their information to find customers who would like to use their products outside our platforms,” Zuckerberg said last month during an interview on Clubhouse’s app.
In the same interview, Zuckerberg also argued that many people see advertising as a “time-tested model” that enables them to access many services for free or at very low prices.
“People get a big part of it when they see ads, they want them to be relevant ads,” Zuckerberg said. He did not say whether he believed that most iPhone users would agree to track the exchange of ads designed for their interests.