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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Apple Slams Facebook for Intrusive Data Collection

After a coalition of eight civil and human rights organizations published an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook last month related to the delay of Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency features, Apple has responded to the letter doubling down on its privacy practices. The iPhone giant took a direct shot at Facebook, saying that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant has “made clear” its intention to “collect as much data as possible.”

9to5Mac reports that last month a coalition of eight civil and human rights organizations published an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook relating to the company’s decision to delay the releases of the new App Tracking Transparency feature in iOS 14. Now Apple has responded, doubling down on its privacy practices and offering more details on the delay of the App Tracking Transparency feature.

In a letter sent to the Ranking Digital Rights organization, Apple Senior Director of Global Privacy Jane Horvath, stated that the company believes that “privacy is a fundamental human right.” Horvath explained that Apple delayed the App Tracking Transparency feature in an effort to give developers more time to prepare for the changes.

The letter confirms that the App Tracking Transparency feature, which is designed to allow users to disable tracking between different applications, will be released next year. Horvath wrote:

We delayed the release of ATT to early next year to give developers the time they indicated they needed to properly update their systems and data practices, but we remain fully committed to ATT and to our expansive approach to privacy protections. We developed ATT for a single reason: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers.

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She further added that the transparency feature does not prevent advertising but rather encourages advertising that respects privacy:

Advertising that respects privacy is not only possible, it was the standard until the growth of the Internet. Some companies that would prefer ATT is never implemented have said that this policy uniquely burdens small businesses by restricting advertising options, but in fact, the current data arms race primarily benefits big businesses with big data sets. Privacy-focused ad networks were the universal standard in advertising before the practice of unfettered data collection began over the last decade or so. Our hope is that increasing user demands for privacy and security, as well as changes like ATT, will make these privacy-forward advertising standards robust once more.

Horvath also harshly criticized Facebook stating that the tech giant has “made clear” that it intends to “collect as much data as possible,” writing:

By contrast, Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads. Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products.

Read more at 9to5Mac here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address [email protected]


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