The tussle between the government and social media giants has been making headlines for the past few weeks. However, the news which is not making headlines is Apple’s new iOS update, especially in India. Now the question is why it should make headlines and what’s the common thing in all of these? But most importantly what is this iOS 14.5 update on iPhone now.
Let’s find all the answers, first of all, what is this new update and what are its features.
The Latest Apple iOS Update
With the latest iOS 14.5 update, Apple has introduced an important and controversial feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT). This feature lets you block apps from tracking your online activities. If you choose the Ask App Not To Track option, apps will not have permission to collect your data. This means apps won’t be able to sell it to third parties. Thus, making it difficult for brands to target you with ads.
For Apple’s more than 1 billion iPhone users. The change means a new pop-up notification in some apps seeking their permission to collect data. Apple believes could be used to track their browsing habits across third-party apps and websites.
For businesses, the rules could bring seismic changes to the nearly $100 billion mobile advertising market. If most iPhone users decline to allow data collection, though the exact impact remains a question, according to industry experts.
What Does Facebook Say?
An article on Facebook’s business help centre says: “Apple will begin to require that apps in the App Store that engage in what Apple defines as “tracking” to show a prompt to iOS 14 users, in accordance with their App Tracking Transparency framework. Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt in to tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalisation and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.”
“In response to these changes, we will also start processing pixel conversion events from iOS 14 devices using Aggregated Event Measurement. This will support your efforts to preserve user privacy and help you run effective campaigns.”
“We provide updates and additional resources to support businesses advertising on our platform as they become available.”
It further says, “As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, the size of your app connections, app activity Custom Audiences and website Custom Audiences may decrease.”
IPhone owners also have a “tracking” menu in their phone’s privacy settings where they can opt-out of tracking from all apps on their phone with a single switch, or pick and choose among apps to grant permission to.
Data, Social Media & iOS Update
“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,” Zuckerberg said last month on the audio chat app Clubhouse.
“New Privacy features improve user transparency and control over how apps access your location, photos, microphone, and camera.” Apple
Facebook has fought hard against the new framework, taking out full-page ads in newspapers, as well as TV and radio spots. The company has focused on the stories of small business owners. They say that it will hurt the obstacles to targeting potential customers with ads
Your Data and Privacy
And now why should it make headlines?… Well, when it comes to the data and privacy of users, companies and various governments are using your data. As they desire and there is not much we can do about it.
Now, the question comes: what is the common thing between the Indian government’s tussle and this new feature of ios update, “data and privacy” of users.
In 2019, for instance, a study undertaken by Amnesty International and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab revealed that several Indian lawyers and Dalit activists and journalists were targeted with a malware campaign. Surveillance by the Indian state has been mostly shrouded in ambiguity. Especially since concepts like endangering state security, sovereignty and integrity have not been properly defined.
For potential victims of data theft and surveillance, consent forms are one way of protecting their privacy. But this may be marginally effective because users typically do not pay attention to consent forms. This is according to Carnegie Endowment’s Anirudh Burman.
“More consent won’t necessarily protect privacy, and users develop a false sense of trust in privacy. Although they can still suffer from illegal data usage.”
Meanwhile, global tech giant Facebook has said it will comply with the new data regulations, and Amazon and Google are expected to eventually follow suit. The Indian government has also announced that it is going to regulate digital content from streaming websites like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar.
Back To The iOS Update Feature By Apple…
Apple released a video explaining how the new features work, and how users’ data is collected and sold. They said “Some apps have trackers embedded in them that have more data than they need – sharing it with third parties like advertisers and data brokers. They collect thousands of pieces of information about you to create a digital profile that they sell to others.”
The video goes on to explain that third parties use these profiles to target ads – and also “to predict and influence your behaviors and decisions. This has been happening without your knowledge or permission.”
“Maybe you’re okay giving an app your email or location,” the Apple ad says. “And if you’re not, well, that’s what the prompt is for.”
Targeted advertising is central to the business models of companies including Facebook and Google – but Google has a deal with Apple to make it the default search engine on Apple products.
Can Users Still Be Targeted With Ads?
iPhone users can still see ads even if they decline the new pop-up. As long as those ads are targeted using data the app developer has collected on its own. For example, Facebook Inc (FB.O) can still target ads based on first-party data such as which groups users join or which posts they like. But if Facebook wants to target ads based on data from which third-party websites users have used their Facebook credentials to log into, it will need to seek permission.
How effective this new feature is going to be, that is the thing to look out for. We can’t have much of a say in this situation. But users should have the right to know who is taking their data and how? However, the question of our right to privacy still lies behind these headlines and tussles.
That’s it from our side on this story about iOS update. If you have any suggestions and opinions, Let us know in the comments. You can read more articles on our Blog.