Afew weeks ago, Apple released iOS 14.5. It has a new privacy feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT). There’s been a lot of controversy between Apple and Facebook as a result of this. Some even say this is the start of a privacy war between the two. But it seems like Google will also implement a similar feature. A survey on Android Authority revealed that most Android users want it too.
In each device, there is a unique identifier called the IDFA. Apps that track your activity tie your data to your IDFA before uploading it to a database of a data broker like Facebook or Google. When you launch another app, it can access your data from those data brokers using your IDFA and even add new data to the database.
With ATT, any apps that want to access your IDFA have to describe why they want to do so. iOS then presents a prompt to you asking whether you want the app to track your activity. If denied by the user, the app’s access to the IDFA is blocked, rendering the data collected almost useless.
Bloomberg reported that Google is interested in implementing a similar feature. They speculate that it won’t be as strict as Apple’s as personalized ads make up a good chunk of Google’s business.
Facebook, after Apple announced the feature, defended itself by saying that it would hurt their business. They released an ad across newspapers describing how personalized ads are helping small businesses to get discovered, and this feature could hurt them. While this claim is correct to an extent, it is clear that most consumers don’t want their data used without their permission. Flurry Analytics reported that only 5% of people in the US and 13% worldwide allowed app tracking as of May 11, 2021.