Apple App Tracking Transparency might be bypassed by Chinese ad tech

Ewdison Then - Apr 8, 2021, 10:18pm CDT
Apple App Tracking Transparency might be bypassed by Chinese ad tech

Apple’s upcoming strict privacy measures are proving to be quite effective even before it’s fully implemented. Designed to prevent the potential violation of users’ privacy by asking permission before apps and services are allowed to track their activity. It is ruffling no small amount of advertisers’ feathers but some companies seem to be taking more drastic and questionable measures to circumvent that App Tracking Transparency with help from a state-backed Chinese advertising technology developer.

The ATT, as it is nicknamed, doesn’t exactly prevent advertisers and platforms from tracking users. It does, however, have to explicitly ask their permission first and most presume that users will use the default answer of “no” anyway. Facebook made a big stink about how it would significantly reduce advertising insight, quality, and, therefore, revenues, warning that it could put smaller businesses at risk of going bankrupt.

While Facebook begrudgingly conceded it has to play by Apple’s rules anyway, the state-backed Chinese Advertising Association is trying to come up with an alternative technology that would practically bypass the need to ask user permission to gather data for targeted ads. It’s is being called CAID and it is meant to be used instead of Apple’s ID for Advertising or IDFA that does require user permission.

More worrying, however, is the Wall Street Journal’s report of companies interested in using the ad technology. P&G, noted to be one of the world’s largest advertisers is allegedly involved and is the biggest Western company on that list. TikTok owner ByteDance, who was already in hot water because of its ownership of American citizen’s data, is also part of the group.

Apple’s response is as expected, emphasizing that its policies will be applied equally across all markets and goes beyond just the use of IDFA. It remains to be seen, however, if this CAID will be successful in actually getting past Apple’s scrutiny since the company threatens to reject any app that will disregard those safeguards.


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