New reports are demonstrating that some of the biggest iOS app makers are bypassing Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy settings.
Apple introduced ATT in an effort to provide users more control over their data, forcing companies to ask for permission before tracking their activity across websites and services. Theoretically, if a user asks an app not to track them, the app is supposed to respect the user’s wishes.
Unfortunately, it appears some of the biggest platforms are ignoring users’ wishes and tracking them anyway. Facebook (no real surprise there), Google (again, no big surprise), Snap and others are using a loophole to get around Apple’s requirements.
According to AppleInsider, the loophole involves the definition of “linking.” Apple’s ATT guidelines say that companies cannot track users and link “user or device data” to apps and services. The guidelines, however, do not specifically spell out what’s involved in “linking.” Companies are using this loophole to collect data, data that can then be used however they want at a later date.
It’s unclear whether Apple is intentionally turning a blind eye to this behavior, or has simply not decided on an appropriate response yet. The company has previously warned that companies trying to skirt or bypass ATT would risk being banned from the App Store. At the same time, Cupertino’s silence is leaving many to wonder just how much Apple knows and/or is willing to tolerate.
Hopefully the company cracks down on this behavior and reaffirms users’ right to control their own data.