In June, Apple announced iOS 14 updates that, among other changes, would require apps to ask users for permission to collect and share data with developers.
Developers, like Facebook, collect unique device identifying information (IDFA) from iPhones in order to target ads to specific people. In response, Facebook announced that it would no longer collect IDFA from iPhones. They also reminded users that they have a choice about how their information is used on Facebook and about their Off-Facebook Activity feature, which allows them to see a summary of the off-Facebook app and website activity businesses send to Facebook and disconnect it from their accounts.
Facebook also criticized Apple, noting that these changes would "disproportionately affect Audience Network given its heavy dependence on app advertising. Like all ad networks on iOS 14, advertiser ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns on Audience Network will be impacted, and as a result publishers should expect their ability to effectively monetize on Audience Network to decrease. Ultimately, despite our best efforts, Apple’s updates may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14. We expect less impact to our own advertising business, and we’re committed to supporting advertisers and publishers through these updates."
Chris Hazelton, Director of Security Solutions at Lookout, a San Francisco, Calif.-based provider of mobile phishing solutions, says iOS 14 puts additional focus on user privacy, and in particular gives users better visibility into their personal information that is shared with third parties. "With iOS14, comes tighter controls that enable users to specifically limit access to their email addresses, photos, and activity tracking on a per app basis. Users are more in control of their personal information. They can now decide on an app-by-app basis which will have access to personal data. Previously, iOS users only had the choice between sharing all their information when using apps, or declining to share and not having access to apps. Now Apple has created levers for users to more easily pick and choose the developers with which they share personal information," says Hazelton.
The privacy changes in iOS 14 are part of an unstoppable trend to increase the protection of user privacy, he adds, "This trend will not stop with tracking for advertisers. macOS 10.15 Catalina kicked everyone out of the kernel, a privilege that endpoint security providers had since the beginning of desktop operating systems. With this move security vendors are now also limited in accessing user and system information, and must operate like any other app."
"You can’t fight this trend," notes Hazelton. "You must adapt and innovate or die. Mobile security providers innovated when they couldn't have kernel access and I am sure advertisers will find a way to innovate as well.”