Thursday, Nov 10, 2022, 17:43 Economy

Apple's Intense Tracking – Increased Criticism Over Logging Of All Activity On App Store

The criticism isn't new: Although Apple constantly stresses how broadly it protects users' data and defends its own controversial, anti-trust behavior by placing it under the umbrella of data privacy – although many simply see this as a tactic to shield its own market from competition. Although Apple states that it does not provide third parties with any user data, this statement doesn't set the company apart from other providers such as Google. Most other providers don't sell any user data either – their business model consists of advertising orders from third parties to perform targeted advertising by drawing on user data. No user data is sold to third parties in this process. Apple does exactly the same with advertising on the App Store – which has long since developed into a billion dollar market.

Every Single Action In The Store Is Recorded
A developer has documented the intensity of Apple's user tracking, noting that this occurs at essentially every turn – with every individual click in the store becoming recorded user data. Apple logs data from all interactions in the store and still receives a data log even when the user in question hasn't agreed to personalized advertisement and data collection. Such behavior isn't possible for third parties, as Apple significantly reduced the methods of tracking available to these parties in the name of "App Tracking Transparency". The aforementioned switch to tracking all user data in the App Store occurred after the introduction of iOS 14.6 – only one update after Apple disabled third parties' abilities to track users.



Implications For iOS 16 Unclear
The aforementioned behavior only adds fuel to the fire for those who already see Apple's commitment to users' data privacy as more of a commitment to its own marketing department – including also viewing this as a gambit to introduce anti-trust limitation of competitive services by illegal misuse of its own, very powerful platform. More than likely, Apple's recording of App Store activity serves two purposes: First, more exact statistics for advertising customers, secondly – to provide data for the most precise control and attunement of advertisements to target groups possible in the App Store. It's well-known that Apple has recently invested a great deal of money into App Store advertisements, and there have even been advertising spots added to the App Store's "Today" tab. However, there is still one limitation to the current report – it doesn't detail the extent to which tracking will also play a role in iOS 16 and whether or not this will continue to include the notation of every action in the App Store or not.

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