Apple Apps Ignoring New Anti-Tracking Rules

There are many iOS updates for Apple products that aren’t new but last year one of the most significant iOS updates is note-worthy for the App Tracking Transparency. The newly developed iOS feature forces apps to ask for permission whether users consent to their app and data usage behavior being collected in the name of selling the data to third-party developers. 

The new feature was developed as a private security measure for iPhone users and was overwhelmingly adopted by 96% of iPhone users following the initial release. This feature eased the many minds of many Apple users being assured that they have the choice of having their data collected but that doesn’t mean the apps will actually comply that easily. 

The Washington Post reports indicate that some popular apps are ignoring the user’s request to have their data kept private and the publication launched an investigation with Lockdown. The app developer for the data privacy, Lockdown, working with The Washington Post uncovered some hard truths on apps collecting data and ignoring rules. 

The investigation resulted in discovering three top-charting game apps for iPhones are sending personal user data to third-party advertising companies after the user selects the option for their information not to be collected. Apple was alerted on which apps are using these invasive methods and has yet to take action against this from happening again. 

When users select the “Ask app not to track” option it fails to block access by the app to one important piece of data known as the IDFA that is an ID for advertisers to quickly identify an individual iPhone. Though apps give users the option to opt-out of having their data collected the feature does very little to block access to personal information. 

A long-running popular gaming app, Subway Surfers, was analyzed by the Lockdown app revealing the app was sending 29 pieces of data of the user’s phone to the ad company Chartboost. The information being collected includes data revealing intimate details such as your current phone volume, remaining free storage, screen resolution, phone’s language used, battery level, enabled keyboards, calendar type, and IP address that can trace a user’s location. 

This might seem like a shocking level of privacy being violated but is enough data to form a digital fingerprint forming an IDFA for your device for a user’s device bypassing the need for access to the actual number. In response, the developers of Subway Surfers claim the data is sent for the game to function properly which seems like a convenient excuse for collecting a ton of personal information in the name of entertainment. 

Apple has stated they will be working to ban apps circumvent the privacy feature on the iOS operating platform. Though Apple is making some big promises to solve an ongoing promise it seems that all they can do is reassure users with simple statements but the big changes in their privacy security seem to be their response to this ongoing problem.