Apple is allowing companies to use aggregate or anonymized data without identifiers
The Financial Times notes that another social media firm, Snap, has spoken with investors and said that it would present advertisers with “a more complete, real-time view” of their ads whether iPhone users have selected to opt-out of tracking or not. The business publication notes that Apple’s user privacy documentation says that developers “may not derive data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it.”
Using anonymized data is becoming the standard in the industry
Apple does say that before collecting personal data, developers must remove personal data of any identifiers “such as user ID or name.” This kind of tracking is quickly becoming the standard in the industry.
Apple gives app developers more leeway than it lets on
She adds that while companies will say that they are only looking at user-level data after it has been anonymized, there is no way of really knowing without viewing the data or the algorithms being used, whether users’ data is being protected. And as a result, the same people that Tim Cook called “hucksters just looking to make a quick buck,” are being trusted by Apple.
Munchbach says, “If historical precedent in adtech holds, those black boxes hide a lot of sins. It’s not unreasonable to assume it leaves a lot to be desired.” Lockdown Privacy, an app used to block ad trackers, called Apple’s policy “functionally useless in stopping third-party tracking.” After doing some testing, Lockdown Privacy came to the conclusion that personal data and information related to specific devices are “being sent to trackers in almost all cases.”
Some companies say that advertisers must know some information such as the user’s language and the screen size of his device. Without it, the app experience would be awful. As it is, Apple’s own apps don’t have to follow the ATT regulations that it developed. But it just could be that Apple is giving all developers more leeway than it lets on.