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  1. 96% of US users opt out of app tracking in iOS 14.5, analytics find Some of the first data on user behavior exceeds advertisers' worst fears. Enlarge / The Facebook iPhone app asks for permission to track the user in this early mock-up of the prompt made by Apple. Apple It seems that in the United States, at least, app developers and advertisers who rely on targeted mobile advertising for revenue are seeing their worst fears realized: Analytics data published this week suggests that US users choose to opt out of tracking 96 percent of the time in the wake of iOS 14.5. When Apple released iOS 14.5 late last month, it began enforcing a policy called App Tracking Transparency. iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV apps are now required to request users' permission to use techniques like IDFA (ID for Advertisers) to track those users' activity across multiple apps for data collection and ad targeting purposes. The change met fierce resistance from companies like Facebook, whose market advantages and revenue streams are built on leveraging users' data to target the most effective ads at those users. Facebook went so far as to take out full-page newspaper ads claiming that the change would not just hurt Facebook but would destroy small businesses around the world. Shortly after, Apple CEO Tim Cook attended a data privacy conference and delivered a speech that harshly criticized Facebook's business model. Nonetheless, Facebook and others have complied with Apple's new rule to avoid being rejected from the iPhone's App Store, though some apps present a screen explaining why users should opt in before the Apple-mandated prompt to opt in or out appears. This new data comes from Verizon-owned Flurry Analytics, which claims to be used in more than one million mobile apps. Flurry says it will update the data daily so followers can see the trend as it progresses. Based on the data from those one million apps, Flurry Analytics says US users agree to be tracked only four percent of the time. The global number is significantly higher at 12 percent, but that's still below some advertising companies' estimates. The data from Flurry Analytics shows users rejecting tracking at much higher rates than were predicted by surveys that were conducted before iOS 14.5 went live. One of those surveys found that just shy of 40 percent, not 4 percent, would opt in to tracking when prompted. Flurry Analytics' data doesn't break things down by app, though, so it's impossible to know from this data whether the numbers are skewed against app tracking opt-in by, say, users' distrust of Facebook. It's possible users are being more trusting of some types of apps than others, but that data is not available. 96% of US users opt out of app tracking in iOS 14.5, analytics find
  2. Tim Cook Responds to Facebook Criticism of iOS App Tracking Transparency Changes, Says It's 'Hard To Argue Against' Privacy In a preview of an interview with The New York Times' Kara Swisher, set to be published on Monday, April 5, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he's "shocked" at the criticism Apple has received in recent months over upcoming privacy changes in iOS, and claimed that they're "hard to argue against." Apple plans to begin enforcing App Tracking Transparency (ATT) changes following the release of iOS 14.5, meaning all apps that access an iPhone's ad identifier, or IDFA, will need to ask a user's permission before tracking is allowed. The move has provoked criticism from some companies, particularly Facebook, which argues that the new changes will hurt small businesses. Facebook says that small businesses rely on tracking to provide personalized ads and that with ATT, those ads will be less effective. However, when asked in the interview how ATT will impact Facebook, Cook said he's "not focused on Facebook" and that he doesn't know. Swisher asked: "What is your response to Facebook's response — which is quite vehement — calling you essentially an existential crisis to their business?" Cook answered: " All we're doing, Kara, is giving the user the choice whether to be tracked or not. And I think it's hard to argue against that. I've been — I've been shocked that there's been pushback on this to this degree." Facebook initially went all out against ATT; however, the company has recently shifted its tone. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg now claims it's possible that the new change may benefit Facebook by giving it an upper hand in the online commerce space. It's possible that we may even be in a stronger position if Apple's changes encourage more businesses to conduct more commerce on our platforms by making it harder for them to use their data in order to find the customers that would want to use their products outside of our platforms. Cook's latest comments are just a snippet of the full interview set to be published on Monday in which the CEO discusses the removal of Parler from the App Store, the power of Big Tech, and what it's like being called "Tim Apple." Source: Tim Cook Responds to Facebook Criticism of iOS App Tracking Transparency Changes, Says It's 'Hard To Argue Against' Privacy
  3. Apple brings an end to iPhone and iPad apps that secretly tracking your movements without your knowledge or explicit consent. Apple has added a number of awesome and much-needed privacy features to iOS 13, and one of the best is the way the operating system informs you about apps that are tracking your movements. How does it do this? Via a popup, like this: iOS 13 location tracking popup This gives you the option of either allowing the tracking to continue in the background, or to only allow tracking when you are using the app. This is a very handy privacy feature, and can float to the surface apps that you may have forgotten about, but that haven't forgotten about you! The only drawback of popups like this if that you have to deal with it there and then, and there's no option to ask it to remind you again, which would be a nice feature. Another new, and eye-opening privacy feature in iOS 13 is how the operating system informs you about apps that use Bluetooth for a variety of things that are separate to audio streaming to headphones or speakers. In particular, Bluetooth is being used to by companies to track users via Bluetooth beacons. iOS 13 Bluetooth popup It's worth noting that if you deny an app from having Bluetooth access, this will not prevent audio streaming, as this is a separate feature. Source
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