Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi talked about the new iOS 14 Privacy features and in particular, reiterated the company’s commitment to ATT (App Tracking Transparency) feature in an interview with The Independent. Federighi explained that for Apple users’ privacy is a “core value” around which its products and services are designed.
The Cupertino tech giants’ commitment to protecting users’ privacy was questioned when the company decided to postpone the release of the ATT feature in the new iOS 14 privacy updates. Concerned by that decision, a group of eight Human and Digital Rights organizations wrote an open letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook to emphasize the need to protect users’ privacy by restricting app tracking across websites and apps for targetted ads. So yesterday, the company’s Senior Director of Global Privacy answered their concerns by reiterating Apple’s commitment to ATT in a letter and now Federighi’s solidified the company’s position on the users’ privacy.
Apple Strongly Committed to ATT confirms Craig Federighi
Federighi said that new iOS 14 privacy features are a continuation of Apple’s commitment to protecting users’ privacy and security “since the beginning of the company” when late Founder Steve Jobs announced Apple 11 in the 1970s which allowed users to control their data by securing their information on floppy disc.
Making his case against target ad marketers, he said that in the long term new privacy features will be “better for even the people that are currently, at times protesting those moves” because they will develop users trust in the products and services they use and now its time for developers and ad agencies to work earn it. He quoted;
“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.
Well, in fact, if you look at what happened to the industry, that didn’t happen at all, and yet we also protected user privacy.”
Federighi explained that the delay in release of ATT iOS Privacy feature was because of “technical issues raised by developers” who were afraid of the negative impact on ad tracking if customers do not allow tracking at all. He mentioned that developers argue that “because we have so much tracking built into every facet of our system, we can’t live up to what the user asked us to do when they turn it off.”
Having said that, he confirmed that the ATT feature will not be modified to please app tracking developers and talked about a new tool called SKAdNetwork which allows developers to track when an advertisement results in a sale.
“We created a framework for doing that in a privacy-protecting way,” he said, and future updates could bring more ways to allow the ad industry to “improve their ability to do effective advertising while preserving privacy, and we want to work technically on solutions to make that more and more effective”.
Apple’s Senior Director Global Privacy, Jane C. Horvath has already detailed that the ATT feature will not hamper digital advertising in her letter to the concerned Human Rights group. She wrote;
Advertising that respects privacy is not only possible, it was the standard until the growth of the Internet. Some companies that would prefer ATT is never implemented have said that this policy uniquely burdens small businesses by restricting advertising options, but in fact, the current data arms race primarily benefits big businesses with big data sets.
Privacy-focused ad networks were the universal standard in advertising before the practice of unfettered data collection began over the last decade or so. Our hope is that increasing user demands for privacy and security, as well as changes like ATT, will make these privacy-forward advertising standards robust once more.”
iOS 14 Privacy Features
The new privacy updates are as following:
- Convert existing accounts to Sign-in with Apple
- Share proximate location instead of precise location
- Visible alert when mic and camera are used by apps
- Developers to self-report data collection