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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 Kenja (541830) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:50PM (#41695653)
    Mine defaulted to off... But in truth the process of getting to it reminds me of "It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'". They dont exactly put it in an easy to find location or draw any attention to it.
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:58PM (#41695789)
    Why couldn't Apple put this on their Privacy settings menu?
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:02PM (#41695863) 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.

    Just to note, in case anybody mistakes this for good faith on Apple's part, that the "Settings" application also has a tab called 'Privacy', where you will notfind any mention of this new feature. Instead, it goes under 'General', for reasons that I'm certain aren't cynical in the slightest.

  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:11PM (#41695993)
    If Apple had any respect for thier customers, this would default to off. But just like Facebook, even Apple has decided their customers are the advertisers, not the mere users (aka product). But the Samsung ads speak a bit of truth and among the devout, this will not even stir a teapot-sized tempest, for Cupertino knows best.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:13PM (#41696029)

    Apple: "we need to uniquely identify our users to maximize our advertising revinue stream, and to positively lock individual devices to individual users for the sake of our media partners. Not doing this means we will make less money, and since becomeing a houshold name, our share holders are more fickle than ever!"

    Users: "look, do I follow YOU everywhere you go? When you go in the bathroom, do I give YOU targeted adverts for toilet paper, sanitary wipes, tampons and condoms? No? Does that sound at all like something you would like? No? Then DON'T TRACK ME."

    Apple: "your concerns have been noted, and your opinion is important to us." [Delivered in robot answering machine voice.]

    User: "I will contact an advocacy group if you can't take this seriously."

    Apple: "we are dedicated to workmanship and quality, and the opinions of our customers are important to us."

    (User contacts advocacy group. Advocacy group raises a stink)

    AG: "you are aware I am sure, that pervasive user tracking violates the user's privacy in unacceptible ways, and clues about facts a user would like to keep private, such a club affiliations, sexual preferences, past relationships, and even prior citations for minor legal offenses can be publicly exposed through such tracking and directed advertisements, right? Let alone the serious safety implications, like pedophiles tracking underage children, rapists stalking women, and muggers stalking people with expensive iDevices using tracking apps right? You honestly think that these serious implications are warranted to further your financial bottom line?"

    Apple: "oh, we hadn't thought about that second part!"

    AG: "so you will stop mandatory tracking?"

    Apple: "yes of course! We don't want to (increase our legal liabilities because we) track our customers in such a way that they could be physically or emotionally harmed!"

    AG: "Good on you apple. We are glad you understand the value of privacy."

    (6 months pass)

    Apple: "we have devised a compromise that still let's us make money by selling compromising infrmation to snoopy advertizers, without the legal liabilities! We will offer a NEW tracking feature, that is obfuscated, and obscured such that the user doesn't know its there, and that could theoretically be turned off if they knew how, absolving us of culpability when/if it gets misused!"

    User: "do you comprehend the meaning of "I DO NOT WANT TO BE TRACKED."? Does the concept even make sense to you?

    Apple: "the opinions of our customers are important to us!"

  • by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:13PM (#41696037)

    5) Set Limit Ad Tracking to "ON".

    When I want something stopped, period, I don't request that it be "limited". Weasel words like this rarely appear by accident. They are usually, ahem, limited to strategic implementations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:51PM (#41696711)

    don't forget the word usage: "Limit Ad Tracking..." it doesn't say anything about disabling, just limiting.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:59PM (#41696817) Journal

    don't forget the word usage: "Limit Ad Tracking..." it doesn't say anything about disabling, just limiting.

    It isn't entirely clear to me if that is some sort of weasel wording about what that button deliberately doesn't do, or just an admission that there are a variety of other mechanisms, of varying degrees of subtlety and creativity, that advertising networks can and do use against you, for which the presence of the IDFA is irrelevant(ie. any app that is connected to a 3rd party login, most obviously, can be expected to own you whether or not it has a device ID to assist it).

  • by eth1 (94901) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:47PM (#41697497)

    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.

    Not to mention the setting itself is weasel-worded. "Limit" ad tracking, not "disable."

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @03:03PM (#41697759) Journal
    And im supposed to believe that the software is going to honor those flags in a way most humans would deem reasonable, right? There is no action you can take on your iphone that Apple cannot override. I own one, and at first i was really enjoyed the tech of it. Airplay, facetime etc all in a nice package. But as i dive deeper into iOS the entire thing is about control from end to end. It is impossible to gain absolute positive control over the device, even with jailbreaking. The entirety of the device is a big ass life sensor.
  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @04:45PM (#41698989) Homepage

    Seriously? And you think Google or RIM doesn't do this? You think they don't track users via the phone activations, and then via browsers and all that?

    Apple actually provided a non-permanent, non-personal device identifier *THAT YOU CAN TURN OFF* and something you manage to portray this as being worse? Seriously?!

    Or are you against all online services?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @06:21PM (#41699931)
    Online services don't know what time and where i get my morning coffee.
  • by JuicyBrain (977451) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @08:25PM (#41700909)

    I don't know why, but I'm suddenly reminded of an ad Apple did in 1984. There was a girl throwing a hammer at a big screen...

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