• Ad Networks try to Bypass Apple's Privacy Rules

    Increased security measures that ban user-tracking apps from Apple’s App Store have forced many ad networks to adopt alternative methods to obtain valuable information. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, ad networks are finding workarounds as Apple attempts to limit user tracking amid privacy concerns that are voiced both by consumers and the U.S. government.

    Previously, the mobile advertising industry, which was born when Apple launched the App Store alongside the iPhone 3G in 2008, relied on user data to effectively monetize ad space by tailoring advertisements to specific demographics. Without the user tracking data, it was exposed that networks were authorizing a loophole that allowed an app to upload geo-tagged photos in the background, which theoretically granted access to sensitive location data without a user’s knowledge. An example of this was Path, which faced some heat for uploading contents of an iDevice’s address book to an offsite server.

    The government stepped in when Congress sent two letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook requesting a briefing on what the company was doing to remedy the perceived iOS privacy issues. In response to the media’s complaints, Apple planned to limit UDID access and began blanket rejections of apps that accessed the data. At this time, ad networks were rumored to be experimenting with MAC addresses and OpenUDID as substitutes for the UDID access ban. Recent reports claim that ad providers are now using Open Device Identification Network (ODIN) as well as the aforementioned OpenUDID to bypass Apple’s security measures. It’s still unclear what workaround the networks will finally settle on to deliver the data they require.

    Once decided, we’ll have to see what actions Apple will take, if any, to protect user privacy.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal
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