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Apple is delaying the privacy feature that allows iPhone owners to keep ad tracking in check

Apple is launching a controversial new privacy policy that it is implementing with iOS 14, which will require developers to ask users for permission to collect data and track it across mobile apps and websites on iPhone and iPad, the company announced in a developer update released Thursday.

Apple was originally intended for the rule to go live with iOS 14, scheduled for release sometime this fall, but it now gives developers more time to comply with the changes. Among the companies most concerned about the change is Facebook, which said it would stop using the unique identifiers Apple intends to warn users about, but expressed concern about third-party advertisers in the network who can not afford to do the same.

“We are committed to ensuring that users can choose whether or not to let an app track them. To give developers time to make necessary changes, apps must require permission to track users from the beginning of next year, ”the developer note states. Apple says developers can begin to comply with the rule when iOS 1

4 launches if they choose, but it does not require them to do so before 2021.

“We believe that technology should protect users’ fundamental right to privacy, and that means giving users tools to understand which apps and websites can share their data with other advertising or measurement companies, as well as tools to revoke permission to do so. . tracking, ”Apple said in a statement The Verge. Once enabled, a system prompt will allow users to allow or deny tracking on an app-by-app basis. We want to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes, and as a result, the requirement to use this tracking permit will take effect early next year. ”

Apple does not necessarily go to war with the digital and mobile advertising industry, but the privacy feature is among the iPhone manufacturer’s most aggressive developer policy changes it has introduced in recent memory. First unveiled at this year’s WWDC in June, the new feature will show users a message when an app has requested its so-called Identification for Advertisers, or IDFA code. Many users are expected to decline, and Facebook has said the feature could “severely affect” the ad network, according to a report from Bloomberg last week on the social network’s decision to stop collecting IDFA codes altogether.

The code is a unique identifier that helps advertisers track the effectiveness of ads across mobile apps, websites, email clients and more. This is traditionally how advertisers know when, for example, you have downloaded an iOS game from an app installation ad on Facebook, or when you have clicked on a product in Instagram that redirects you to an online store. There are other complex methods and tools advertisers use to track you on the Internet, but IDFA is a general industry standard approach that is useful across different ad types, devices and platforms. Apple’s decision to place it behind an opt-in message could have significant implications for the advertising industry and how it uses mobile tracking.

Related to the opt-in feature is another new privacy policy Apple says developers need to read up on to be compatible later this year. There’s a new list of privacy information that will be added to App Store product listings that describes in detail how a given app collects and stores information across a variety of domains, from health and fitness data to location information to browser logs.

On each app’s product page, users can learn about any of the data types the app can collect, and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them. You must provide information about the app’s privacy practices, including procedures from third-party partners whose code you integrate into your app, in the App Store Connect from the fall, ”reads a new page Apple published on the developer portal on Thursday. .

The site contains information about the types of data that a developer must disclose the collection methods for, as well as guidelines for how a developer communicates the way it uses this data. Developers are also asked to identify whether “each data type is associated with a user’s account, device or identity by you and / or your third party partners.” There are also instructions regarding disclosures for tracking and privacy rules.

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