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IOS Privacy Apple

User Tracking Back On iOS 6 188

Posted by timothy
from the stephen-king-needs-to-get-on-this dept.
First time accepted submitter connor4312 writes "Apple got caught with its hand in the cookie jar when privacy experts protested the use of a universal device identifier, or UDID, to track the online preferences of iPhone and iPad users. Enough is enough, right? Well, maybe not. It looks like device tracking is back with iOS 6, courtesy of a new tracking technology: IDFA, or identifier for advertisers."
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User Tracking Back On iOS 6

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  • by Sez Zero (586611) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:45PM (#41695535) Journal
    If you want to turn off device tracking using the IDFA on your iOS6 device, do the following:

    1) Click on Settings.
    2) Click on General to access the General Settings.
    3) Click About
    4) Scroll down and click on Advertising.
    5) Set Limit Ad Tracking to "ON".

    Default On. This seems like the mobile version of Do Not Track [slashdot.org], and we all know how that is turning out.
  • by samkass (174571) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:57PM (#41695775) Homepage Journal

    In this case "off" means "you're allowed to track me". Set it to "on" if you want to explicitly limit advertiser's activities.

    I'm glad Apple provides this, and it's a nice differentiator for them since Google needs to track users to maintain their profits while Apple just wants to sell you devices.

  • Mine was off as well, and I don't think I've ever seen that setting before. I got the "default on" from TFA, so maybe that isn't correct?

    The TFA says "default off" -- that's kind of what the article was all about, other than discussing the fact that Apple is fostering confusion by making you "enable" the feature to disable a feature.

  • Re:Oh no! (Score:5, Informative)

    by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:23PM (#41696215) Homepage Journal

    Before anyone dismisses that as just a joke, it's literally true in iOS 6 if you use the new "Passbook" feature. Every time you pull up the lock screen with Passbook enabled, Passbook does a GPS fix and checks in with Apple to find out if it should display one of the little Passbook cards.

    So, yeah. Apple really does know every time you're at Starbucks - if you use the Starbucks app and iOS 6's Passbook.

    Oh, and note I said "lock screen," not "unlock the phone." Just pressing the "hold" button to display the lock screen checks in with Apple.

  • by manaway (53637) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @03:06PM (#41696921)

    Yes it's a good option to have, but parsing it is difficult. If I don't want ad tracking, I must turn it off, but "on" turns ad tracking off, right? How confusing! While programmers are used to thinking in negatives, mixed with yes/no and true/false, that is not the norm. Compare:

    [yes] [no] Allow ad tracking
    [off] [on] Limit ad tracking

    Both are logical and equivalent, but the first is far easier to comprehend and mark according to your preference. Apple, and other corporate software, likely does this intentionally. Of the small percentage of people who will find this setting, even fewer will mark it correctly. Result? Far more monitoring while getting kudos for providing the option. And that is how marketing experts earn their money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @03:11PM (#41696979)

    Before anyone dismisses that as just a joke, it's literally true in iOS 6 if you use the new "Passbook" feature. Every time you pull up the lock screen with Passbook enabled, Passbook does a GPS fix and checks in with Apple to find out if it should display one of the little Passbook cards.

    Or you could, you know, disable "show on lockscreen" for all of your passes and don't set favorite stores for your Starbucks pass ... and then Passbook won't do a GPS fix every time you pull up the lock screen.

    You can still have and use Passbook passes, it just won't auto-display when your near a Starbucks. Heck, once you have the pass enrolled in Passbook you can even delete the Starbucks app off your phone.

  • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @03:12PM (#41696989)

    The first time activated my phone (it is the screen where you can add your google account if you want to, and is standard on every android phone and tablet I have seen), I was asked if wanted "Interest based ads", I did not opted in and never had to worry about it. So android does not really have the same thing.

  • by kallisti (20737) <rmidthun@yahoo.com> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @03:39PM (#41697345) Homepage

    First of all, I would like to clear up a common misconception. Apple did NOT ban the use of the UDID in iOS5. The few applications that did get banned did so because they stored the UDID without telling the user. If there's some legal text anywhere in the app that says they are storing this information, then they are fine. The UDID is marked as deprecated, which is just a compile time warning, but still works just fine. It is still used by a lot of people, too.

    As for the new advertisingIdentifier, the Apple documentation on this subject is perfectly clear. Anyone can request the advertising device identifier, but developers are required to call advertisingTrackingEnabled. If that value is NO, the the id can only be used for: "frequency capping, conversion events, estimating the number of unique users, security and fraud detection, and debugging"

    Note that this is entirely the responsibility of the developer to make sure that's all that is being done. Apple will probably pull any developer that is caught not respecting this, but how can you ever really know?

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