Apple to press ahead on mobile privacy, despite Facebook protests

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Apple said recently it would press ahead with mobile software changes that limit tracking for targetted advertising – a move that has prompted complaints from Facebook and others.

The iPhone maker said updates to its mobile operating system would give users more information and control on the tracking of their online activity by apps on Apple devices.

Apple earlier this year delayed the changes to give online advertisers time to adapt.

But in a letter to the non-profit group Ranking Digital Rights, Apple said it planned to move forward next year “because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers”.

The letter from Apple Privacy Chief Jane Horvath noted that Apple intends to support online ads but without “unfettered data collection” and noted a split with Facebook, which had expressed concerns about the new policy. “Facebook and others have a very different approach to targetting,” Horvath said in the letter, verified by AFP.

“Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads.

“Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetise detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of
their products.”

Facebook responded that Apple was trying to shift attention from the fact that it was collecting more data on its users.

The social media giant said the changes would allow Apple to collect user data while making it nearly impossible for competitors to do so “They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit,” said Facebook.