Apple users can say no to being tracked with new software update
Apple Inc. rolled out a software update for its mobile devices on Monday that gives users the option of stopping apps from tracking their location and sharing other identifying information with third parties.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant launched the latest version of its operating software, iOS 14.5, to the more than one billion people with iPhones around the world, including Canada, starting Monday morning.
While the upgrade contains a number of changes, one of the biggest is the addition of a beefed up privacy requirement the company is calling App Tracking Transparency, which any app that "collects data about end users and shares it with other companies for purposes of tracking across apps and websites" must abide by.
Services such as Facebook and others currently have the ability to track users on mobile devices in order to learn more about them to target advertisements and other location-based services to them. In some instances, the tracking is in place even if the user is not actively using the app in question.
Apps can still monitor users
To be clear, apps will still be able to monitor their users even if they decline.
So users will still be targeted by ads, even if they decline.
A social network like Facebook, for example, can still target ads based on first-party data of their own, such as which Facebook groups users join or which posts they like. But if Facebook wants to target ads based on data from which third-party websites people have used their Facebook credentials to log into, it will need to seek explicit permission.
There's a lot more in the linked article, if you care to read it.
Without getting too
excited about it, this looks like a positive step.
It also means that when I finally get around to getting a mobile phone, I'll probably look at Apple first.