Apple Inc’s privacy crusade stirs up ad-tech barons

–– 23 Sep 2020

Apple’s privacy crusade has led to a backlash from ad-tech barons, who are urging Apple to consider their “restrictive” features in the latest iOS 14 release. 

A letter signed by ad-tech barons

Signed by The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, the letter is a response to Apple’s new features in iOS 14 that make user tracking tags opt-in on a per-app basis in iOS 14. 

Marketers and advertisers say the new release will impact their ad revenue from iOS devices. What’s all the fuss about?

The ad-tech industry are upset with new changes to the Identifier for Advertiser IDFA) tags, that allow advertisers to collect data about users without harvesting their personal identifiable information PII.

With iOS 14, apps and advertisers must obtain permission from users to “track them across apps and websites” owned by other companies through a pop-up box. We’ve talked about the key privacy features of iOS 14 before.

While ad-tech praises Apple’s decision to delay enforcement of the new features, it requests an “urgent meeting to ensure we use that additional time to launch a collaborative process to address widespread questions and concerns around those upcoming changes.”

While the data barons share Apple’s support for consumer privacy, they claim the proposed changes could have a “negative impact on both consumers and businesses.”

A long term crusade

For a long time Apple has been releasing privacy features for its customers, and built a reputation as a company that takes its customers data rights seriously. Take the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Apple CEO Tim Cook famously said his company would never monetise customers’ information because privacy was a human right. 

This shift into privacy-focused products doesn’t appear to be short term, but a growing and sustained effort by the company to highlight flawed business models and shift the whole industry into a privacy focussed one. 

An early release we covered was a push for privacy nutrition labels for app store publishers. For the first time, iOS 14 is to require apps to get permission from users before collecting their data – giving users an opt-in to this compromise to their privacy.

The walled garden

Giving users more control over their privacy protection has not been received well, especially from those companies that rely on making money from people’s data. Zuckerberg and his troops at Facebook warned the opt-in could halve publishers’ revenues on its platform. 

Data companies have become very reliant on online advertising revenues particularly granular tracking, such as location, browser, device and behaviours. Online advertising is a monopolistic world, where there’s really only two main players, Google or Facebook. It’s called the walled garden for a reason.

With releases like iOS14, the walled garden of Google and Facebook is starting to crack and with further pressure from companies, who knows, maybe one day the wall will be breached and toppled. 

Privacy is profitable

Apple has shown the world that improving privacy and giving greater control to its customers over how their data is used can be a profitable model. Apple has continued to dominate the technology market and become the first US company to hit a market cap of $2 trillion. Their privacy crusade has helped differentiate themselves from competitors, build consumer trust and made themselves a privacy first company in a period where trust is low. 

Like many other privacy focussed companies building tools for the next web, Tapmydata welcome Apple’s long term crusade for better privacy and data practices. A long term solution is needed, no short term solutions will do. 

Subscribe to the Tapmydata newsletter.

    Media coverage
    and partners.

    Find out what’s being said about Tapmydata and discover our personal privacy partners.

    Download press kit