Apple could block apps that do not comply with new privacy feature

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Apple has threatened to remove apps from its widely-used App Store when they do not comply with the upcoming personal feature allowing users to block advertisers from tracking them across different applications.

The new feature, dubbed App Tracking Transparency, was initially intended to launch this season, but has been delayed to give developers more time to make changes to their apps and address privacy issues.

Some technology companies and advertisers, such as Facebook, have criticised the projected shift, saying it could damage smaller developers like gaming companies disproportionately.

However, Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software technology at Apple, said consumers ought to know when they are being tracked over different apps and websites.

“Early next year, we’ll begin requiring all apps that want to do that to obtain their users’ explicit permission, and developers who fail to meet that standard can have their apps removed in the App Store,” he said at the European Data Protection and Privacy Conference.

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The new feature will require a pop-up notification saying the app “would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other businesses.”

“When invasive tracking is the business model, you don’t to welcome transparency and customer choice,” Federighi said, rejecting criticism of the new feature.

“We want the world to observe the arguments for what they are: a brazen attempt to keep up the privacy-invasive status quo”

Facebook and Google are the largest among thousands of companies that track online consumers to pick up on their habits and interests and serve them relevant ads.

Apple itself was under fire last month when a Austrian privacy group, led by famed campaigner Max Schrems, filed complaints with data protection watchdogs in Germany and Spain, alleging an online tracking tool used in its devices breached European law. Apple rebutted the charge, calling it “factually inaccurate”.

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Federighi said the industry would adapt to provide effective advertising without invasive tracking.

“Getting this right will require time, collaboration, listening — and true venture across the entire technology ecosystem. But we think the outcome will be transformative.”

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Jonathan Landay. Editing by Steve Orlofsky.

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