After a coalition of eight civil and human rights organisations wrote Apple an open letter about the delay of iOS 14’s anti-tracking features, the company wrote back with an explanation. Apple also used their letter to criticise Facebook, saying that the social network intends to “collect as much data as possible” on its users.
The organisations that wrote to Apple were Access Now, Amnesty International, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, National Hispanic Media Coalition, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Open MIC (Open Media and Information Companies Initiative) and Ranking Digital Rights. In their letter, they explained that they were disappointed that “Apple is delaying the full implementation of iOS 14’s anti-tracking features until early 2021”.
“These features will constitute a vital policy improvement with the potential to strengthen respect for privacy across the industry,” continued the organisations.
App Tracking Transparency (ATT) will make all tracking across apps and websites opt-in only. Users will be able to choose between “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track.”
In response, Apple’s Senior Director of Global Privacy Jane Horvath released their own open letter. Horvath wrote that Apple delayed the ATT feature in an effort to give developers “more time to prepare for the changes”.
“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,” said Horvath.
The letter was also an opportunity for Apple to criticise Facebook—as they said that the social network, and others, “have a very different approach to targeting”. Apple claims that Facebook uses detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads.
“Facebook executives have made it clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetise detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products,” wrote Horvath.
Previously, Facebook criticised Apple several times over the new privacy feature in iOS 14, and said they could see ad revenue drop as much as 40%. The company even published a blog post detailing how advertisers will be affected by iOS 14’s new anti-tracking features.