Pages

New Study Proves Apple’s ‘Tracking Transparency App’ Has Actually Made Tracking More Difficult

The great thing about studies is their ability to highlight loopholes and recent research revolving around Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) has managed to do just that.

Data shows how the interesting study entailed nearly 1,759 iOS applications and it assessed the effects of the company’s apps before and after the privacy feature was incorporated. For this to work out successfully, developers had to take permission from users to track their applications.

Surprisingly, the conclusion was not what many experts and developers at Apple were expecting. And that’s because it showed that the process of tracking was more difficult this way. It also showed how it was much harder to get the IDFA or Identifier for Advertisers. This is utilized for cross-app checking.

Interestingly, little to no change was seen in tracking libraries that were in-built into apps, while other reports delineated how some apps continued to collect data from those that requested no app tracking.


Another worthwhile and alarming discovery from the study shed light on how some apps went as far as indulging in the sensitive user fingerprinting which was a clearly invasive feature by using server-side codes. This was done just to get around the ATT.

This particular research paper is the world of art produced by four academics that were linked to Oxford University and also another independent US-based researcher. Remember, this is yet to be peer-reviewed and hence is only yet available as a pre-print for now.

The study’s other part assessed Apple’s privacy nutrition labels that it rolled out for iPhone users in 2020. And surprisingly, the report highlighted how they were frequently inaccurate.

Remember, the only way for Apple to achieve its goals of giving iOS users an overview of how much of their information is given up for an app to use can only be determined if developers reveal the process used to collect or track that data.

And that is where the study found huge discrepancies between the methods revealed and those actually used in the process. Hence, this is why the study strongly outlined that the practice is misleading consumers about their security and the amount of data truly released by them to be used by the app.

This study paves the way for arguments about competition and how leading companies like Apple are increasing their share in the market by using strategies such as ATT that provide users with less privacy and perhaps more agency.

Read next: iOS Users Could Soon Get Their First Dual-Port Power Adapter As Apple Explores New Territory

No comments: