Apple Partners Cloudfare to Protect User-privacy, Dares Google and Facebook

Apple Partners Cloudfare to Protect User-privacy, Dares Google and Facebook

Apple has taken another confrontational step to protect user-privacy. The Silicon Valley tech giant is teaming up with Cloudfare to develop a new internet protocol that will prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from seeing websites visited by internet surfers.

This is coming after the smartphone maker changed its privacy policy to limit advertisers’ access to users’ private information. The policy change called iOS 14, has brewed fresh discord between social media companies, particularly Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has called Apple out for the decision, and Apple.

The iOS 14 will prevent apps from tracking users using their unique device identifier without their explicit permission, which means it will be difficult for advertisers like Facebook to harvest personal data for targeted ads.

“We expect these changes will disproportionately affect Audience Network given its heavy dependence on app advertising. Like all ad networks on iOS 14, advertiser ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns on Audience Network will be impacted, and as a result publishers should expect their ability to effectively monetize on Audience Network to decrease,” Facebook said after Apple announced the new policy.

While Facebook, Google and others rue the development, Apple is taking further steps to curtail the amount of users’ personal information available to them.

On Tuesday, Apple’s senior VP of software Craig Federighi said during the European Data Protection and Privacy Conference, that Google and Facebook risk being removed from the iOS store if they don’t comply with the new Cupertino’s privacy rules.

The iOS 14 means that companies no longer have the freedom to track people’s movement online, and it was implemented by Apple through the introduction of the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature.

It irks many companies who have said they wish it’s “never implemented at all.” Facebook said it’s going to halve advertising earnings since it limits its tracking capabilities and will drastically reduce the amount of ads it serves.

Federighi indicated in his comment that the complaints will not affect Apple’s decision to show more respect to people’s private data. Apple had delayed the release of the new privacy feature in its mobile operating system following Facebook’s complaints.

But in a blog post on December 4, Apple said the new privacy policy information will hence apply in its App Store to “help users understand an app’s privacy practices and also learn about some of the data types the app may collect, and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them.”

Federighi said the new policy enforcement will begin in early 2021.

“We’ll begin requiring all apps that want to do that to obtain their users’ explicit permission and developers who fail to meet that standard can have their apps taken down from the App Store,” he said.

Apple seems to be carrying the moral burden of respecting and protecting private information alone while other tech companies prey on it. Federighi indirectly pointed at Facebook and Google as the beneficiaries of the immoral private data invasion, and are doing everything to stop moves geared towards changing the status quo.

“When invasive tracking is your business model, you tend not to welcome transparency and customer choice,” he said, adding that “some companies are going to do everything they can to stop app-tracking transparency,” and their complaints about Apple’s new private policy are false. “We need the world to see those arguments for what they are: a brazen attempt to maintain the privacy-invasive status quo.”

Federighi said the kicking against the Cupertino policy will eventually die down; making reference to when Apple brought out its browser version ITP, and the advertising industry claimed it would “sabotage the economic model of the internet” but eventually adapted. He said the newly introduced ATT will end up that way; “companies will adapt while users benefit.”

Apple has under its control, a staggering number of internet users that will impact the revenue of the advertising industry. It has expected a fight-back from the advertisers and is standing its ground on the ATT.

Federighi said the world’s most valuable company will need to “work in true partnership… and collaboration” to change technology, particularly on the issue of user-privacy. This means Apple’s partnership with Cloudfare to develop a new internet protocol is geared toward creating a new internet environment, where user-privacy is free from invasion.

But it is still a long walk. For the proposal to be adopted, it must be endorsed by the Internet Engineering Task Force, the non-profit organization which oversees the approval of new protocols.

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