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Apple Is Blocking Chinese Applications Over Their Attempts To Circumvent The Tracking/Transparency Features

Apple has decided to actively oppose attempts to bypass it's new privacy regulations, with stopping Chinese companies from overstepping Tracking/Transparency regulations being the first of such activities.

Apple's Tracking Transparency features have won over the love of many of the its customers, as well as technology purveyors as a whole. In our current generation, online privacy is a concept that's almost unheard of. Every other website demands third party cookies of its visitors, hiding the ability to turn them off behind numerous webpages. Advertisers siphon off browser history from netizens daily, with social media platforms such as Facebook being content with allowing such activity. Overall, when location, search history, credit card numbers, and personal information as a whole can be accessed by almost every other website, what is there that one can do? That is the question that Apple's relatively recent iOS 14 updates offer to answer.

Tracking and Transparency make it so that third party applications siphoning off any and all data from a user's device need to have said user's explicit permission before doing so. No exceptions. Advertisers cannot get history data, developers can't rely on selling user data, and companies such as Facebook (which rely heavily on advertising for revenue) have a pickle to work out of. Naturally, such companies have also made their displeasure audible, with Facebook especially taking a hardened stance against Apple. Citing itself as the defender of smaller developers, Facebook stated that the tech company was stifling younger developers by cutting off a major stream of revenue. Regardless, Apple refused to budge, and Tracking Transparency carried on ahead. Users finally have more agency in controlling their online image.

So, where does China fit here? Well, Apple has a feature called IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers). Its a feature that collects data useful to advertisers, without revealing any personal details or form of identification, since each user is denoted by a code as opposed to names and such. With Tracking Transparency, advertisers are barred from even IDFA without the permission of users. Chinese companies sought to overcome this by implementing CAID (Chinese Advertising ID), which would give them the relevant data. Such tech giants assumed that Apple wouldn't want to lose a large following in China by blocking popular apps.

However, Apple reaffirmed its decision to uphold privacy regulations. Chinese applications using CAID had their updates blocked in the App Store, rendering them useless. A bluff was called by many major Chinese apps, and Apple responded with firm resolve. The Chinese government may not be happy with such changes, but that remains to be seen in the future.


Photo: Nikada / Getty Images

H/T: FT.

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