Snap, Facebook using loopholes to bypass App Tracking Transparency

Posted:
in General Discussion
A new report is bringing to light additional details on how platforms like Facebook and Snap are working around Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature to collect data.

Apple's ATT feature image
Apple's ATT feature image


Following a recent report that Snap and Facebook were skirting App Tracking Transparency (ATT) using a loophole in the feature's guidelines, The Information on Friday detailed the quiet workarounds that the social media platforms were using.

More specifically, the companies are using a loophole in ATT guidelines to continue collecting aggregated user data. This is because the guidelines bar tracking users and linking "user or device data" between different apps I services, but they don't specifically define "linking."

As a result, even though nearly 80% of iOS have opted out of cross-platform tracking, app developers are taking advantage of the "wiggle room" to share data that could be leveraged to identify users later. Snap, for example, is using a workaround that it has dubbed "Advanced Conversions" to receive detailed data from advertising companies about the activities of individual iOS users.

The Information claims that the data allows Snap to gauge ad efficiency, even if a user has asked an app not to send that data to Snap. Although this data -- which includes whether a user saw an ad and what they did on an app afterward -- is encrypted, Snap can reportedly analyze the results and deliver ad efficiency information to advertisers.

Despite the fact that this is technically tracking users, Snap doesn't believe that it's violating App Tracking Transparency.

According to The Information, both Facebook and Google are using similar methods to glean data on iOS users. Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment from the outlet, while Google said it uses iOS user data in a way that it believe is compliant with Apple's guidelines.

Apple has previously warned developers and advertisers from attempting to bypass ATT, stating that companies must comply with the feature's guidelines or risk expulsion from the App Store.

In a statement, Apple said that its ATT feature has "received strong support from privacy advocates and regulators." It added that "a user's data belongs to them and they should get to decide whether to share their data and with whom."

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    "Apple has previously warned developers and advertisers from attempting to bypass ATT, stating that companies must comply with the feature's guidelines or risk expulsion from the App Store."

    A steel toe in each of their privacy violating asses, we're waiting...
    caladaniantwokatmewStrangeDaysAlex_VDogpersonbluefire1
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Just ban these companies in App Store for few weeks until they complied.

    apple should enforce their policy no matter the size of the company. 
    fred1Alex_VDogperson
  • Reply 3 of 13
    I’m of the idea that a great part of this “right to privacy” is BS. 
    As of the quantity of data that a company like FB/snap/Apple/google has about interactions with content my guess is that most of what we hear is noise.
    williamlondonLOveWerks
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Just checked the AppleInsider webpage.
    "32 trackers prevented from profiling you" according to Apple.....
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Just checked the AppleInsider webpage.
    "32 trackers prevented from profiling you" according to Apple.....
    Whoa. Weird, I'm only getting 2. I'm also running other privacy extensions tho so dunno if that alters the privacy report.


  • Reply 6 of 13
    Part of the reason why I no longer use either service.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 13
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,071member
    "Apple has previously warned developers and advertisers from attempting to bypass ATT, stating that companies must comply with the feature's guidelines or risk expulsion from the App Store."

    A steel toe in each of their privacy violating asses, we're waiting...
    Just ban the fuckers already. No accountability in this culture anymore. Steve Jobs would never have let this happen. Just sayin’. 
    edited December 2021 williamlondonDogpersonbluefire1spock1234
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Apple needs to bring back the specific ability to reset advertising identifier that was in settings in iOS 13. 
    I used it contantly. 
  • Reply 9 of 13
    I never had data theft or the sale of my information on the Bell rotary phone of my youth. But it did not leave the house or provide for movement without a really long cord. Then phone call monitoring began. Big Brother listening in.

    Mobility demands by the consumers have resulted in ALL of their information being subject to external observation for any reason.

    I would imagine we are not yet being told that the "cell phone" or "smart watch" is listening to everyone around the "owner" off the phone and sending all that info along to whomever. 

    There is no way to turn off that new television microphone that is also connected to the internet for streaming. We live in a world where there is actually no secure space to talk.

    Swimming nude in the middle of a high mountain lake might allow for private conversations with the appropriate face covering to prevent lip reading from the shore or satellites.


  • Reply 10 of 13
    ApplePoor said:
    There is no way to turn off that new television microphone that is also connected to the internet for streaming. We live in a world where there is actually no secure space to talk.
    If you really, really have to connect that TV to the internet then put a firewall on the connection. A Raspberry Pi would do the job very well. Then monitor the outgoing connections and block those that are related to the microphone.

    My so-called 'smart TV' has never been connected to the internet and never will. I get my TV via FREESAT and a Humax set-top box that also is not connected to the internet.

    If you can put a tool like 'Little Snitch' on your macOS system. You will be surprised at just how many connections are requested by mundane operations. Deny them all.

    williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 13
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member
    Just stop using those apps then you’ll not have to worry about being track
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 13
    And I was considering deleting my Facebook account, as if they don’t already have my data.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 13
    The only mensurable effects these products have are negative for society and individuals. Making money from this must feel great deep inside. 
    spock1234
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