Tim Cook has set the record straight that Apple is not against digital advertising, it simply wants to give consumers more control.
Apple is at odds with the advertising industry over changes to iOS. Apple recently began enforcing privacy labels, forcing app developers to disclose what user information they collect and track. iOS will soon include App Track Transparency (ATT), forcing apps to ask users for permission to track them.
Unfortunately, the advertising industry seems to suffer the belief that it has an inalienable right to track users, and build detailed profiles of them, with or without their permission. Thankfully, Apple is opposed to that view, and holds to the idea that people should be able to decide for themselves whether they are tracked and profiled — not the have the decision made for them by advertisers.
“We’re not against digital advertising,” Cook said. “I think digital advertising is going to thrive in any situation, because more and more time is spent online, less and less is spent on linear TV. And digital advertising will do well in any situation. The question is, do we allow the building of this detailed profile to exist without your consent?”
Cook framed Apple’s actions in the context of protecting its users.
“We feel so much that it’s our responsibility to help our users be able to make this decision. We’re not going to make the decision for them. Because it’s not our decision either. It should be each of ours’ as to what happens with our data. Who has it and how they use it,” Cook continued.
Cook also addressed why companies like Facebook and Procter & Gamble are so opposed to Apple’s efforts. P&G has even gone so far as to work with a Chinese ad agency to find ways of bypassing ATT.
According to Cook, these companies are only concerned because they’re facing a reality where they may not have access to the same amount of data as before, and they would only lose that access if customers choose not to give it to them. Rather than accept that change, their approach is: “You don’t want to give us access to all your data, so we’re going to try to find ways around your choice and collect your data anyway.”
Regardless of whether you’re an Apple or Android user, Apple’s stance on privacy is a refreshing one — one where the customer comes first.