Google-backed advertising groups criticize Apple’s new warnings on user tracking

A group of European digital advertising associations, some of which are backed by Google and Facebook, on Friday criticized Apple’s plans to require apps to seek additional permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites.

In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, all apps will now be required to obtain user permission before tracking. This includes connecting information collected about a user on an app or website owned by one company with information collected separately by other companies for targeted advertisements, for advertising measurement, or via data brokers.

Developers can now better inform and educate users of their app’s privacy policies right in the App Store.
Developers can now better inform and educate users of their app’s privacy policies right in the App Store.

Later this year, App Store product pages will feature summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices, displayed in a simple, easy-to-understand format. In addition, users can upgrade existing accounts to Sign in with Apple, choose to share their approximate location with app developers rather than their precise location when granting an app location access, and get even more transparency into an app’s use of the microphone and camera.

Stephen Nellis and Paresh Dave for Reuters:

Apple last week disclosed features in its forthcoming operating system for iPhones and iPads that will require apps to show a pop-up screen before they enable a form of tracking commonly needed to show personalized ads.

Sixteen marketing associations faulted Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user consent under European privacy rules. Apps will now need to ask for permission twice, increasing the risk users will refuse, the associations argued.

Facebook and Google are the largest among thousands of companies that track online consumers to pick up on their habits and interests and serve them relevant ads.

The pop-up says an app “would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies” and gives the app developer several lines below the main text to explain why the permission is sought. It is not required until an app seeks access to a numeric identifier that can be used for tracking, and apps only need to secure permission once.

MacDailyNews Take: According to the Reuters report, Google, Facebook, and the other online advertisers worry that Apple’s new privacy tools will cause a “a high risk of user refusal.”

If your business is underpinned by doing something that, when known and clearly presented to your customers, carries “a high risk of user refusal,” your business isn’t really all that sound – as it depends on keeping things secret. It’s deception by omission.

What Apple has been doing with their focus on user privacy, which they continue to strengthen, Google likely anticipated (at least the possibility), and is quite likely the main reason why Google developed Android, mimicked the iPhone poorly, and gave it away for free.

Android was created in order for Google to get it into as many pigeons’ hands as possible so they could keep serving tracking ads without informing their oblivious user base.


  1. The Kings of Privacy Destruction (and apparently unlimited hypocrisy) are “concerned” about your privacy (and totally not their revenue) are on the case! Mhmm.

    1. Exactly, and therefore impossible to take seriously. I have said for beyond a decade at this point (and nobody has listened to those of us that have) that it doesn’t matter if these companies protect you from third parties – you need to be protected from Facebook, amazon, Google et. al. THEMSELVES. It is beyond bizarre to me as a very long time tech user that these issues are the qualifiers now, but Apple is doing a great job, and we need to support them.

      1. Most of us on this forum have been saying the same thing – Google and Facebook and Amazon want every bit of your data they can get to use and to sell. Google has been a chief offender from the start, with widespread web tracking and “free” Google services to collect your data and read your emails and “enhance” your internet experience to manipulate you. Some people would rather ignore those facts, but that just makes them tools.

  2. Very much agreed – I actually appreciate the warnings in Catalina – it’s almost (not quite) like having Little Snitch built in. as much as I kvetch, Apple is doing a lot of things right, and as a customer, it ensures I’m going to stick with them, even with my nitpicking. In this regard, bravo/brava, Apple.

  3. The most offending data brokers in the United States include
    Recorded Future
    Cambridge Analytica

    Wherever the National Security Police State Apparatus is legally denied to track people, it simply buys it from these and the five eyes.

  4. Google and Facebook are the largest data mining whores in the universe!! As many times as both have exposed customers sensitive data, they should both be shut down now!!!!

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