Mobile advertisers expect Apple to destroy device fingerprinting with iCloud Private Relay

Apple has told mobile advertisers that the fingerprinting user tracking technique is off-limits, but doesn’t seem to currently be aggressively enforcing this policy. However, ad execs believe that Apple won’t need to enforce a policy like App Tracking Transparency to kill fingerprinting on iOS devices, thanks to iCloud Private Relay.

Apple's new iCloud Private Relay feature

Seb Joseph for Digiday:

Private Relay renders a person’s IP address useless for fingerprinting because it redirects web traffic through two separate servers. Granted, an IP address is just one of many aspects that make a fingerprint of someone’s behavior on a device — but it’s an important one.

“We view this [Private Relay] as a precursor to Apple using welcome technical solutions to break fingerprinting,” said Shumel Lais, CEO of mobile advertising intelligence business Appsumer… “Overall, we’d view it [Private Relay] as them [Apple] testing the technical solutions on smaller subsets of users before rolling them to a wider audience.”

In a sense, Private Relay is posed to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple that turns into the third wave of privacy change around identifiers. This after the industry was hit by the first wave of device IDs, followed by cookies.

MacDailyNews Take: Cloud Private Relay is a service that lets you connect to virtually any network and browse with Safari in an even more secure and private way. It ensures that the traffic leaving your device is encrypted and uses two separate internet relays so no one can use your IP address, location, and browsing activity to create a detailed profile about you.

iCloud Private Relay is automatically enabled on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad when using Safari – no other browser – and when logged into your iCloud Plus account.

iCloud Private Relay first sends web traffic to a server maintained by Apple, where the IP address is stripped. Next, Apple sends the traffic to a second server maintained by a third-party operator who assigns the user a temporary IP address and sends the traffic onward to its destination website.

The use of an outside party in the second hop of the relay system is designed to prevent even Apple from knowing both the user’s identity and what website the user is visiting. Apple will disclose which outside partners it will use in the system in the future, likely when the service comes online this fall.

See also: Apple’s new iCloud Private Relay feature will not be available in China.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

6 Comments

    1. Of course, if you had a brain, unlike Moroncynic, you would use both. But MoronCynic’s brain only extends to starfish pumping all over Apple. Honestly – there has never been a bigger douche than Moroncynic

      1. Masking the IP address for all internet access, not just Safari is far superior. But you know what? What Apple is doing is allowing your stupidity to lock you into Safari, while not protecting you from your other Apps.

        1. I hate when healthy-food restaurants serve healthy food because they don’t do enough to protect me from quick-serve, non-healthy food establishments. Just an analogy that supports your logic.

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