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Apple iOS 14.5 Release Is Happening Today

Apr 26, 2021 | Privacy

WireWheel Blog Post - Apple iOS 14.5 Release, cover image

The long-awaited Apple iOS 14.5 is happening today. Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) requirement, mandates that developers ask for permission to track users for targeted advertising.

Apple’s approach with ATT joins other industry giants projects, such as Google’s Privacy Sandbox, focused on the elimination of third-party cookies, reducing advertising fraud, improving ad performance metrics, and reducing captchas, without having a negative impact on the ad industry. One of several technologies Google is testing to replace third-party cookies is an API called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).

Beginning today, all apps submitted to the Apple’s App Store must be built in compliance with ‌iOS 14‌ or later. Apple is presenting this change as a privacy forward enhancement meant to protect its users’ privacy because it forces third parties and app publishers to obtain consent to collect information on and track users through apps on Apple devices.

Apple users will be presented with a one-time notification explaining IDFA is used for tracking and give them the choice to opt-in or prevent the sharing of the IDFA at the app level. Apple device users also have a “tracking” menu in their phone’s privacy settings where they can opt-out of tracking from all apps on their phone with a single switch, or pick and choose among apps to grant permission to.

Data collection is still allowed by app developers if it is spelled out in the app’s privacy policy. Further, Apple has introduced privacy “nutrition labels” to its App Store to show users what data apps collect.

The opposing view from Facebook and others is that this change will dramatically reduce the number of Apple app users from allowing their IDFA to be shared with the app publishers. As a result the publishers and ad tech industry advertising revenue will take a big hit.

Beyond the big tech companies’ individual agendas and approaches, there are many industry groups focused on coming up with cookie alternatives with privacy controls at the center. The W3C has established the Privacy Community Working Group. The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM), a joint-industry initiative, is working on safeguarding privacy and consumer experiences, the IAB Tech Lab is addressing this through Project Rearc. TheTradeDesk has introduced Unified ID 2.0.

One thing is certain – requiring notice, choice and consent for the collection and use of peoples’ personal information is becoming more prevalent across the world. Will this be defined by legislation, industry standards, or technology? It remains to be seen.

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