EFF: ‘Apple is right and Facebook is wrong.’

From “Facebook’s Laughable Campaign Against Apple Is Really Against Users and Small Businesses” posted Friday:

Facebook’s campaign is targeting a new AppTrackingTransparency feature on iPhones that will require apps to request permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites or sharing their information with and from third parties. Requiring trackers to request your consent before stalking you across the Internet should be can obvious baseline, and we applaud Apple for this change. But Facebook, having built a massive empire around the concept of tracking everything you do by letting applications sell and share your data across a shady set of third-party companies, would like users and policymakers to believe otherwise…

Apple has deployed AppTrackingTransparency for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14. This kind of consent interface is not new, and it’s similar for other permissions in iOS: for example, when an app requests access to your microphone, camera, or location. It’s normal for apps to be required to request the user permission for access to specific device functions or data, and third-party tracking should be no different. (In an important limitation of AppTrackingTransparency, however, note that this change does not impact first-party tracking and data collection by the app itself.)…

[A] number of studies have shown that most of the money made from targeted advertising does not reach the creators of the content—the app developers and the content they host.  Instead, the majority of any extra money earned by targeted ads ends up in the pockets of these data brokers. Some names are very well-known, like Facebook and Google, but many more are shady companies that most users have never even heard of…

Overall, AppTrackingTransparency is a great step forward for Apple. When a company does the right thing for its users, EFF will stand with it, just as we will come down hard on companies that do the wrong thing. Here, Apple is right and Facebook is wrong. Next step: Android should follow with the same protections. Your move, Google.

My take: Ah, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They do come down hard. I’ll never forget when they came down hard on me.

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8 Comments

  1. James Dean said:
    Someone at EFF needs a copy write editor… am i hev a witness (assuming PED copied and pasted properly)

    0
    December 20, 2020
  2. Joe Murphy said:
    They did come down hard on Philip. Reading your link, A Flaming Outrage, printed in 95, it’s easy to see how we got to this reaction point we’re at today. I noted that for the most part, you stuck to your words while also acknowledging a slip up here and there.

    All in all, it reminded me of 1. Why I’ve, and many of us, been reading you so long, 2. I miss your columns.

    1
    December 20, 2020
  3. Bart Yee said:
    Here’s one thought, perhaps diluted a little in the face of expanded data caps – just how much or what % of the cellular or home WiFi data you pay for is the traffic coming and going from your smartphone or PC to the data brokers like Facebook or Google, and then the downloading and display (using up CPU and battery power) of all those ads, some coming continuously and ad Infinitum? Even watching a YouTube video you get ads more frequently than on broadcast TV. Every ad whittles away at your data cap, spends battery power, takes time, and is literally a space waster / clutter on your display.

    After installing an ad blocker on Safari, my browser experience is so much smoother, faster and better. If a site complains about my blocker and won’t display, I’ll port it over to Chome and see it there, noting just how many ads pop up. I am appalled at how much junk there is.

    I sympathize with websites and developers who need ad revenue to survive, I really do. But those sites I value I pay for, partly to avoid ads at all and the tracking it entails.

    2
    December 20, 2020
  4. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Apple has been at the forefront of this privacy issue from their inception. While Facebook and Zuckerberg can whine and snivel, California is one of the few states that actually has the “Inalienable Right of Privacy” imbedded into the State of California Constitution under Article 1 Section 1.

    Even though Apple is not a state governmental actor, it’s better to be on the right side of this “privacy” issue as opposed to facebook, who only exist by profiteering from the sale of ads derived from mining everyone’s personal and private information for their own singular monetary benefit.

    3
    December 20, 2020
  5. Bart Yee said:
    Has anyone ever wondered, discussed or analyzed what developers, content creators or retailers have to spend on digital advertising, data acquisition, and fees to ad and tracking platforms like Google and Facebook as a percentage of gross revenue?

    I wonder if it exceeds Apple’s 15-30% App Store thresholds and what their ROI is comparatively?

    1
    December 21, 2020

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