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Apple on Tuesday threatened to remove apps from its widely used App Store if they do not comply with a future private feature that allows users to block advertisers from tracking them in various apps.
The new feature, dubbed App Tracking Transparency, was originally slated to debut this year, but has been delayed to give developers more time to make changes to their apps and address privacy concerns.
Some tech companies and advertisers like Facebook have criticized the planned change, saying it could disproportionately hurt small developers like gaming companies.
But Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software development, said users need to know when they are being tracked across various applications and websites.
“Early next year, we will begin requiring all applications that want to do so get explicit permission from their users, and developers who do not meet this standard can remove their applications from the App Store,” he said at the European Security Conference. data and privacy.
The new feature will require a toast notification stating that the app is "requesting permission to track you on third-party apps and websites." Digital advertising firms here expect most users to refuse such permission.
“When aggressive tracking is your business model, you tend to dislike transparency and customer choice,” Federighi said, rejecting criticism of the new feature.
"We need the world to see these arguments for what they are: a blatant attempt to maintain the status quo that violates privacy."
Facebook and Google are the largest of thousands of companies that track online consumers to capture their habits and interests and show them relevant ads.
Apple itself came under fire last month here when an Austrian privacy group led by activist Max Schrems filed complaints with data protection authorities in Germany and Spain, alleging that the online tracking tool used on its devices violates European law. Apple denied the accusation, calling it "factually inaccurate."
Federighi said the industry is adapting to deliver effective ads without invasive tracking.
“It will take time, collaboration, listening and true partnership across the entire technology ecosystem to achieve this. But we believe the result will be transformative. ”