Apple has criticized Facebook for trying to “collect as much data as possible” from users, saying it will go ahead with the planned launch of a new privacy feature despite objections from the advertising industry.
The company’s global privacy director, Jane Horvath, made the criticism in a letter to a coalition of privacy groups, assuring them that the feature, which will require users to actively allow developers to track how they use other applications, would still be released. .
“We develop [App Tracking Transparency] for one reason only: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the aggregation and resale of data by ad networks and data brokers, ”Horvath wrote.
She defended Apple’s approach to targeted ads, which she said was based on demographic details rather than user tracking. “Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting,” Horvath wrote. “Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, but they use detailed data on online browsing activity to target ads.
“Facebook executives have made clear that their intention is to collect as much data as possible on both their own and third-party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more. of their products. “
The claim prompted a strong rebuke from Facebook, which accused Apple of “using its dominant position in the market to give preference to its own data collection, while making it almost impossible for its competitors to use the same data.”
“They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit,” the company said.
The ATT feature, which is expected to launch in early 2021, has sparked a wave of controversy since Apple announced its plans in July. When enabled, any application running on iPhones or iPads will need to ask users for permission before accessing particular data that can be used to track it in other applications. This data is called “identifiers for advertisers” and the advertising industry fears that users will refuse permission, impairing their ability to personalize ads.
In September, Apple agreed to delay the introduction of ATT to give the industry more time to prepare. That delay sparked another outcry, from privacy advocates Horvath addressed in Apple’s letter on Friday.
The Ranking Digital Rights campaign, a coalition that includes Access Now, Amnesty International and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said: “These features will constitute a vital policy improvement, with the potential to strengthen respect for privacy across the industry. Apple should implement these features as soon as possible. “
Apple has faced a separate complaint based on the very existence of the Advertiser ID. In a privacy case filed Monday, consumer rights activist Max Schrems argued that the tracking capabilities violate privacy regulations, and would continue to do so even after the changes planned by Apple were implemented.
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