Apple wants to shut the App Store to developers seeking to collect user data without consent

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When iOS 14.5 finally is released soon, it will allow iPhone users to opt out of being tracked by third party apps for the purpose of receiving online ads. Others might decide that they enjoy receiving the advertisements online and opt in to continue receiving them. With the next iOS update (to version 14.5), Apple will include the App Tracking Transparency feature that gives iPhone users the ability to stop getting tracked by third party apps. .
The App Tracking Transparency feature is really about protecting users from having their private data collected by advertisers. And Apple is now rejecting third-party apps that use SDKs to collect personal data without consent. Using a technique called “device fingerprinting,” developers can gather information such as the name of a device, IP address and other data to track a person clear across the internet. 

If a person decides not to opt-in, an app will not be able to to collect the advertising identifier (IDFA) from that user’s device. This has upset social media firms that depend heavily on advertising revenue such as Facebook. The latter fears that with the launch of the App Tracking Transparency feature in iOS 14.5, small businesses will lose the ability to market directly to potential customers. While tracking consumers is not illegal per se, Apple wants to prevent apps from doing so without obtaining consent from the app user.

In addition to the App Tracking Transparency feature in iOS 14.5, last year Apple started placing App Privacy Labels on App Listings in the App Store. The labels reveal what kind of data an app collects from users and how that data can be used to collect personal information. As Apple explained in a December support document, “The App Store now helps users better understand an app’s privacy practices before they download an app on any Apple platform.”

Apple continued by stating that “On each app’s product page, users can learn about some of the data types an app may collect, and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them. As a reminder, your app’s privacy information is required to submit new apps and app updates to the App Store, and some data is optional to disclose if it meets specific criteria, such as certain data from health research apps and regulated financial services. You may update your answers at any time without resubmitting your app or going through App Review.”



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