Ever since June 2020 — when Apple announced iOS 14 — there has been quite a stir over one feature: App Tracking Transparency (ATT). The feature is designed to give users the choice to disable tracking between apps. App developers will need to take permission before tracking any user across apps and websites. Facebook and many other developers have said that this will harm them and deal a major blow to their revenues. Apple has delayed the feature but has reiterated that it is coming.
In a letter written to Ranking Digital Rights Organisation, Jane Horvath, senior director, global privacy, Apple lashed out at Facebook and said that their idea is to collect as much data as possible. “Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads. Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products.”
Apple didn’t hold back and hit out at Facebook for not just collecting data but also for its disregard for user privacy.
Facebook in response issued a statement to Bloomberg and said that it’s not about privacy but profit for Apple. “They are using their dominant market position to self-preference their own data collection while making it nearly impossible for their competitors to use the same data. They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit,” Facebook told Bloomberg.
Apple has argued that ATT will keep user data secure and the delay is to give developers more time. “We delayed the release of ATT to early next year to give developers the time they indicated they needed to properly update their systems and data practices, but we remain fully committed to ATT and to our expansive approach to privacy protections. We developed ATT for a single reason: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers,” Horvath further said in the letter.