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App Store privacy feature

App Store launching privacy feature

Apple announced it will remove apps from its App Store if they don’t comply with an upcoming privacy feature allowing users to block advertisers from tracking them across different applications. Advertisers track online consumers to pick up on their habits and interests and serve them relevant ads.

The new feature is called App Tracking Transparency and will be launched in 2021. The plan was to make it available in 2020 but developers needed more time to adjust their apps so that they live up to the privacy rules. Advertisers have been negative to the new feature saying it could hurt smaller developers disproportionately.

Apple senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said users should know when they are being tracked across different apps and websites.

“Early next year, 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.”

The new feature will require a pop-up notification saying the app “would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies.”

“When invasive tracking is your business model, you tend not to welcome transparency and customer choice. “We need the world to see those arguments for what they are: a brazen attempt to maintain the privacy-invasive status quo,” Mr Federighi said.

He said the industry would adapt to provide effective advertising without invasive tracking. “Getting this right will take time, collaboration, listening and true partnership across the entire technology ecosystem. But we believe the result will be transformative.”

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