Federighi defends Apple's iOS 14 anti-tracking feature

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple's Craig Federighi says the iOS 14 anti-tracking move is a core Apple value, and expects advertisers' fears will prove unfounded.

Craig Federighi
Craig Federighi


Following Apple's statement that it is "fully committed" to its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy feature, the company's Craig Federighi has been backing up the policy. He claims that it is part of what has always been Apple's core values, and that he believes it ultimately won't damage advertisers as much as has been claimed.

"We introduced intelligent tracking prevention, several years ago, and at the time, parts of the ad industry were saying that the sky was going to be falling in and that their business was going to be destroyed by the fact that they couldn't track everyone from website to website to website," he told The Independent in an interview about ATT.

"Well, in fact, if you look at what happened to the industry, that didn't happen at all," he continued, "and yet we also protected user privacy."

He went on to say that over time, the impact will really be that Apple's doing this will prove "better for even the people that are currently, at times, protesting these moves." Federighi argues that with users more in control, the feature increases trust in apps.

The senior vice president of software engineering at Apple also expects that this feature will be taken up by competitors. "Because we've shown customers [that] they should expect those kinds of privacy protections... [they will] start to demand them and the rest of the industry starts to follow," he continued. "And we'd love to see that in many other ways."

According to Federighi, Apple's decision to delay the introduction of ATT until early 2021 was entirely because of technical issues rather than any reconsidering of the policy. Reportedly developers said they had "so much tracking" built in that "we can't live up to" what the user wants when asked to switch it off.

Federighi also argues that Apple has already created SKAdNetwork, an alternative system for providing advertisers with information that does not compromise users. "We created a framework for doing that in a privacy-protecting way," he told The Independent. Apple plans to update this to "improve [advertisers] ability to do effective advertising while preserving privacy, and we want to work technically on solutions to make that more and more effective."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,531member
    Should have been released on iOS 14 on day 1. Screw those scum bags.
    F_Kent_DMplsPMisterKitplastico23bluefire1svanstromSpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 22
    The sooner this comes live the better as far as I am concerned. 
    And I agree with Craig it won’t be a massive deal in the end - my rationale is that most people actually don’t care about their privacy.
    F_Kent_Dsvanstromwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    I don't want anyone tracking me. At the same time, to give them an olive branch, I would be willing to voluntarily indicate to trackers that I have certain interests. These would be vague. They might be something like this:
    • Preferred_Language=English
    • Preferred_Purchases=Computers,Cars,Gadgets
    • Preferred_Continent=North_America
    This way I could give them as much or as little as I wanted. But this would actually help them. For starters, they would know what language I prefer to receive ads in. I'm okay with that. I don't mind telling them what language I speak. What I don't want is them figuring out my age, gender, politics, religion, age, handicap status, etc, from the emails or comments that I write or websites I visit or my contacts list, etc.
    F_Kent_Dplastico23Detnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    saarek said:
    Should have been released on iOS 14 on day 1. Screw those scum bags.
    No, that would screw the customers. 

    Apple’s changes ask questions, and if the code isn’t fixed to respond to the questions then the app will crash as soon as it starts up. 

    It’s very common for Apple to delay a feature to give devs time to fix their code. 

    Having said that, no more delays. If they haven’t fixed it, tough buns. 
    edited November 2020 williamlondonF_Kent_Dwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,127member
    I don't want anyone tracking me. At the same time, to give them an olive branch, I would be willing to voluntarily indicate to trackers that I have certain interests. These would be vague. They might be something like this:
    • Preferred_Language=English
    • Preferred_Purchases=Computers,Cars,Gadgets
    • Preferred_Continent=North_America
    This way I could give them as much or as little as I wanted. But this would actually help them. For starters, they would know what language I prefer to receive ads in. I'm okay with that. I don't mind telling them what language I speak. What I don't want is them figuring out my age, gender, politics, religion, age, handicap status, etc, from the emails or comments that I write or websites I visit or my contacts list, etc.
    Half of the data you don't want disclosed can be inferred from the data you're ok with disclosing, which is precisely how most advertising tracking works.  Though it is possible that you're an 85-year old blind female. 

    And the data you're ok with disclosing would not be affected at all by these changes since someone's preferred language, purchases, and location (and much more) can be determined from their IP, sites they visit, and other metadata.  
    edited November 2020 svanstromwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 22
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    I don't want to be tracked, or notified, or alerted to anything. And I want a limited amount of ads which my ad blockers manage quite well. One of my favourite Safari features is the Reader View which cuts all the visual crapola. I just got asked by Apple news if I wanted News tailored to 'me' sent to my inbox. Hell, no!  Maybe I am old school but when i want news or info I go and get it. The normalization of tracking is terrible. Nobody would accept it if it was a real person just walking inconspicuously behind us in the shadows. 
    mac_dogMisterKitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 22
    flydog said:
    I don't want anyone tracking me. At the same time, to give them an olive branch, I would be willing to voluntarily indicate to trackers that I have certain interests. These would be vague. They might be something like this:
    • Preferred_Language=English
    • Preferred_Purchases=Computers,Cars,Gadgets
    • Preferred_Continent=North_America
    This way I could give them as much or as little as I wanted. But this would actually help them. For starters, they would know what language I prefer to receive ads in. I'm okay with that. I don't mind telling them what language I speak. What I don't want is them figuring out my age, gender, politics, religion, age, handicap status, etc, from the emails or comments that I write or websites I visit or my contacts list, etc.
    And the data you're ok with disclosing would not be affected at all by these changes since someone's preferred language, purchases, and location (and much more) can be determined from their IP, sites they visit, and other metadata.  
    I'm sorry, I thought the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy feature stopped tracking, and you say it doesn't? Can you explain why it doesn't do that?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,070member
    Developers claims are just bullshit. They’re just buying more time to get as much information as they possibly can before the shit hits the fan. 
    plastico23watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 22
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,531member
    The advertisers and other companies are just upset that their nefarious and underhanded tracking is now going to be explained to the customer in simple plain English, without being buried in complex legal jargon, mixed in with the option of accept or deny.

    No one but a fool would accept the terms and they know it!
    edited November 2020 plastico23watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 22
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,737member
    I don't want anyone tracking me. At the same time, to give them an olive branch, I would be willing to voluntarily indicate to trackers that I have certain interests. These would be vague. They might be something like this...
    I want the ability to give them all sorts of bad data which corrupts their databases and/or crashes their systems.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    I love the anti-tracking "shield" icon on MacOS Safari. Where is that icon on iOS?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    I don't want anyone tracking me. At the same time, to give them an olive branch, I would be willing to voluntarily indicate to trackers that I have certain interests. These would be vague. They might be something like this:
    • Preferred_Language=English
    • Preferred_Purchases=Computers,Cars,Gadgets
    • Preferred_Continent=North_America
    This way I could give them as much or as little as I wanted. But this would actually help them. For starters, they would know what language I prefer to receive ads in. I'm okay with that. I don't mind telling them what language I speak. What I don't want is them figuring out my age, gender, politics, religion, age, handicap status, etc, from the emails or comments that I write or websites I visit or my contacts list, etc.

    This was all solved in the "old days" of advertising.

    Magazines, for example, would send out surveys to their subscribers so they could build a profile of their interests. Advertisers would then choose which magazines to advertise in based on the makeup of subscribers. It's not as accurate as tracking individual users, but the concept of "targeted ads" is as old as advertising itself.

    You say you like computers, cars and gadgets? Fine. When you visit a computer related site (like Appleinsider) you'll automatically see computer related ads because those advertisers CHOSE to have their ads shown on this site. This is no different than automobile manufacturers advertising in Motor Trend or Road & Track.

    Advertisers already know what types of users visit Appleinsider (Mac and iOS device users) so companies that sell those devices and software/accessories for them would be inclined to advertise here. To further narrow things down, sites like Appleinsider could also do surveys of users on things like gender, age, income and basic interests. Companies who advertise on Appleinsider would still have useful targeted ads that hit the key demographics they're looking for. And I wouldn't have to put up with seeing ads for hand lotion, vasectomies, Mexican food or anything else I happened to search for recently.

    Seriously, don't you find it ridiculous to have ads for completely unrelated products on a computer site?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    I love the anti-tracking "shield" icon on MacOS Safari. Where is that icon on iOS?

    Click on the "aA" in the left side of address bar and in the drop-down menu is the Privacy Report.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Instagram/Facebook are already asking the permission for tracking. Just yesterday got the notification in the app... as usual said no to everything :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 22
    Just a happy user, but when this subject is being discussed I always like to recommend: https://lockdownprivacy.com/.
    christopher126watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 22
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,422member
    Apple is on the right path with this and advertisers will have to get more creative (in a good way) to work within the boundaries that Apple has created. I don't have any problems at a business level with opt-in based advertising and data acquisition or even publisher side content filtering based on opt-in or subscription based models. Do I prefer to get lots of free stuff and not have to put up with advertisements or even totally anonymous tracking? Hell yeah. But I'm intelligent enough to know that everything has a price tag on it and I'd rather both sides agree to the real "cost and fees" rather than hiding behind facades of BS and fantasy. Tell me what it costs and I'll decide whether I'm willing to pay for it. But don't feed me a line of crap about something being "free" when it's not really free. I can handle the truth. 
    Detnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 22
    I love the anti-tracking "shield" icon on MacOS Safari. Where is that icon on iOS?

    Click on the "aA" in the left side of address bar and in the drop-down menu is the Privacy Report.
    Excellent! Thanks so much! :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 22
    svanstrom said:
    Just a happy user, but when this subject is being discussed I always like to recommend: https://lockdownprivacy.com/.
    Thanks for the link. :)
    svanstromwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 22
    auxio said:
    I don't want anyone tracking me. At the same time, to give them an olive branch, I would be willing to voluntarily indicate to trackers that I have certain interests. These would be vague. They might be something like this...
    I want the ability to give them all sorts of bad data which corrupts their databases and/or crashes their systems.
    Oh. Yes. Little Bobby Tables we call him.

    https://xkcd.com/327/

    :D

    (Edited for spelling)
    edited November 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 22
    go, Craig, go!
    watto_cobra
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