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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Google trying to copy Apple for Android tracking permission

Android should get tracking protection like the future iOS. A “privacy sandbox” like the Chrome browser would be possible for the mobile phone operating system.

Google is currently discussing an alternative to Apple’s future tracking protection internally. With an upcoming iOS version, the apps will have to request user approval before they can access the device-specific advertising ID. Google is considering a similar data protection system for Android.

Apple iOS as a data protection pioneer

Apple recently revised its app store rules . In the future, apps will require the “explicit permission” of the user in order to track their activities. Apple’s new “App Tracking Transparency” interface blocks the previously free access to the advertising ID, a device-specific combination of numbers for every iPhone and iPad. In future, apps may only access them with the consent of the user. Every new app and every newly submitted app update must follow the extended rule at the beginning of spring 2021. The introduction will probably take place in conjunction with the release of iOS 14.5 in March or April.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Google is considering a corresponding alternative for its own smartphone operating system Android. Internally, the restriction of the data collection of the apps and the data exchange between the apps are being discussed. However, this should be less restrictive than Apple .

Google has to balance the different needs of the privacy-conscious Android user and its advertisers interested in personalized data. However, when asked, Google only said: “We’re always looking for ways to work with developers to raise the bar on privacy while enabling a healthy, ad-supported app ecosystem.”

App provider against iOS tracking opt-in

App providers like Facebook and the associated Instagram have already protested against Apple’s new tracking opt-in in iOS 14.5. You plan that a message should ask for tracking permission shortly before iOS displays the tracking opt-in dialog that will soon be required. Personalized advertising is much more interesting for app providers, as it can be sold to advertisers at higher prices.

Other apps want to do the same. Google itself advises developers to display their own message dialog in their iOS apps in order to get users in the mood for Apple’s tracking demand dialog. This is intended to obtain the appropriate permission, for example with the reference that personalized advertising enables the app to be offered free of charge.

Your own sandpit on Android?

It is still unclear how Google intends to integrate tracking protection into Android. One possibility would be the cookie successors in the Chrome browser, which are already in the test stage , with which the third-party cookies are to be replaced. So far, cookies have been stored in the browser, which are then used by advertising networks to create personal profiles and display advertising based on them.

With the new system called “Privacy Sandbox”, targeting is to be relocated to the browser. The browser history is processed directly on the user’s computer in order to then merge it into groups with common interests. Advertisers and networks could then no longer access individual user identities, but only address the group as a whole.

A similar system as in the Chrome browser would also be conceivable for the Android operating system or could be adapted accordingly. According to Bloomberg, this is now being discussed internally at Google.

Christopher Patillo
Christopher Patillo
Christopher Patillo is an accomplished writer and editor with a passion for exploring the intersections of technology, society, and culture. With a Master's degree in Journalism Patillo has contributed to various publications. His writing focuses on emerging trends in artificial intelligence, digital privacy, and the ethical implications of technology in everyday life. He is also involved in community outreach programs aimed at promoting media literacy among youth.

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