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User Tracking Back On iOS 6

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the stephen-king-needs-to-get-on-this dept.

IOS 188

First time accepted submitter connor4312 writes "Apple got caught with its hand in the cookie jar when privacy experts protested the use of a universal device identifier, or UDID, to track the online preferences of iPhone and iPad users. Enough is enough, right? Well, maybe not. It looks like device tracking is back with iOS 6, courtesy of a new tracking technology: IDFA, or identifier for advertisers."

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188 comments

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Oh no! (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#41695483)

They know I'm at Starbucks! Now how will I write my screen play in peace?

Re:Oh no! (4, Funny)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41695823)

Whoa whoa whoa, there mister technology-whore. Just remember...
Real hipsters use typewriters [xojane.com]

Re:Oh no! (5, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 2 years ago | (#41696215)

Before anyone dismisses that as just a joke, it's literally true in iOS 6 if you use the new "Passbook" feature. Every time you pull up the lock screen with Passbook enabled, Passbook does a GPS fix and checks in with Apple to find out if it should display one of the little Passbook cards.

So, yeah. Apple really does know every time you're at Starbucks - if you use the Starbucks app and iOS 6's Passbook.

Oh, and note I said "lock screen," not "unlock the phone." Just pressing the "hold" button to display the lock screen checks in with Apple.

no, not literally true (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696979)

Before anyone dismisses that as just a joke, it's literally true in iOS 6 if you use the new "Passbook" feature. Every time you pull up the lock screen with Passbook enabled, Passbook does a GPS fix and checks in with Apple to find out if it should display one of the little Passbook cards.

Or you could, you know, disable "show on lockscreen" for all of your passes and don't set favorite stores for your Starbucks pass ... and then Passbook won't do a GPS fix every time you pull up the lock screen.

You can still have and use Passbook passes, it just won't auto-display when your near a Starbucks. Heck, once you have the pass enrolled in Passbook you can even delete the Starbucks app off your phone.

Re:Oh no! (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#41697205)

Only if you use it and fail to configure it. In general, you shouldn't use these "free" services unless you know what you're giving up. If you think that's too complicated for you to handle, then you've probably already answered whether you should be using the service in the first place.

Re:Oh no! (2, Funny)

TRRosen (720617) | about 2 years ago | (#41697297)

OMG location based features know our location!!!!! Who would have thunk it.

Zoidberg (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41695517)

User tracking is bad and you should feel bad!

Re:Zoidberg (2)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41696057)

But they give a free bucket of krill for every patient he sends them!

Re:Zoidberg (1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 2 years ago | (#41697313)

The Slashdot is bad. It tracks users just like about every other site on the web.

Unlike before, now you can turn it off (5, Informative)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#41695535)

If you want to turn off device tracking using the IDFA on your iOS6 device, do the following:

1) Click on Settings.
2) Click on General to access the General Settings.
3) Click About
4) Scroll down and click on Advertising.
5) Set Limit Ad Tracking to "ON".

Default On. This seems like the mobile version of Do Not Track [slashdot.org] , and we all know how that is turning out.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#41695653)

Mine defaulted to off... But in truth the process of getting to it reminds me of "It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'". They dont exactly put it in an easy to find location or draw any attention to it.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (2)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#41695727)

Mine was off as well, and I don't think I've ever seen that setting before. I got the "default on" from TFA, so maybe that isn't correct?

Also the "Read More" on the Settings page says that in the future all Apps will be required to use IDFA, so isn't this a good thing to be able to control tracking from the device and NOT have it be ignored, like DNT?

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (5, Informative)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 years ago | (#41695813)

Mine was off as well, and I don't think I've ever seen that setting before. I got the "default on" from TFA, so maybe that isn't correct?

The TFA says "default off" -- that's kind of what the article was all about, other than discussing the fact that Apple is fostering confusion by making you "enable" the feature to disable a feature.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (2, Informative)

samkass (174571) | about 2 years ago | (#41695775)

In this case "off" means "you're allowed to track me". Set it to "on" if you want to explicitly limit advertiser's activities.

I'm glad Apple provides this, and it's a nice differentiator for them since Google needs to track users to maintain their profits while Apple just wants to sell you devices.

Android has the same ability (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41696785)

I'm glad Apple provides this, and it's a nice differentiator for them since Google needs to track users to maintain their profits while Apple just wants to sell you devices.

Android has a similar switch to limit ad tracking, they just call it interest based ads [dottech.org] and make it easier to find even.

However it says nothing about what Google themselves may still track, to me these switches are all about what third parties can get from you.

Re:Android has the same ability (4, Informative)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41696989)

The first time activated my phone (it is the screen where you can add your google account if you want to, and is standard on every android phone and tablet I have seen), I was asked if wanted "Interest based ads", I did not opted in and never had to worry about it. So android does not really have the same thing.

You agree when you disagree (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41697155)

So android does not really have the same thing.

As the "thing" is the ability to opt out of interest based ads just like Apple is offering now - yes, yes it does. You just said it did.

Re:You agree when you disagree (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#41697249)

I think his point was that Apples version is defaulted on in a not obvious place that you have to find to turn off.
Android has a question that it specifically asks you when you first use the phone.
One is hidden and defaulted to on while the other is an in your face question.
Not really the same thing.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (5, Informative)

manaway (53637) | about 2 years ago | (#41696921)

Yes it's a good option to have, but parsing it is difficult. If I don't want ad tracking, I must turn it off, but "on" turns ad tracking off, right? How confusing! While programmers are used to thinking in negatives, mixed with yes/no and true/false, that is not the norm. Compare:

[yes] [no] Allow ad tracking
[off] [on] Limit ad tracking

Both are logical and equivalent, but the first is far easier to comprehend and mark according to your preference. Apple, and other corporate software, likely does this intentionally. Of the small percentage of people who will find this setting, even fewer will mark it correctly. Result? Far more monitoring while getting kudos for providing the option. And that is how marketing experts earn their money.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#41697087)

In an ideal world that would be a better way to put it.

However, nothing in there allows or disallows tracking. Advertisers can always create their own way of tracking you. All this does is turn off the way Apple provides as an alternative so that advertisers shouldn't do the bad ways, such as uploading your address book to their server and use that as a tracking id (that hole is actually fixed now).

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 2 years ago | (#41696363)

They dont exactly put it in an easy to find location or draw any attention to it.

Why would they? This is how they convince people to develop for iOS, and I'm just guessing that Apple probably gets a chunk of those advertising dollars too.

Spoiler: tracking for advertisers is always going to be a feature in most mobile devices.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41697159)

Hence the reason I change calling my 'mobile' device to 'my personal tracking' device

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (2)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about 2 years ago | (#41696699)

It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Mountain Lion".

FTFY

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41695773)

To add to this I also suggest you do the following:

1. Goto oo.apple.com in your mobile browser.
2. Switch off iAds.
3. Yay, no targeted advertising.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (2, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#41695789)

Why couldn't Apple put this on their Privacy settings menu?

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41695857)

except, "In the future all apps will be required to use the Advertising Identifier. However, until then you may still receive targeted ads."

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696301)

not an exception. you can turn off this form of tracking, and in the future all apps must only use this so it will be off everywhere.
For now, some apps (maybe many/most/all) might use a different cookie to track you, so those apps may still serve you targeted
adds. It is clarification so you won't freak out if you turn off the tracking and still see targeted adds in the short term.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41695863)

If you want to turn off device tracking using the IDFA on your iOS6 device, do the following:

1) Click on Settings.

2) Click on General to access the General Settings.

3) Click About

4) Scroll down and click on Advertising.

5) Set Limit Ad Tracking to "ON".

Default On. This seems like the mobile version of Do Not Track [slashdot.org] , and we all know how that is turning out.

Just to note, in case anybody mistakes this for good faith on Apple's part, that the "Settings" application also has a tab called 'Privacy', where you will notfind any mention of this new feature. Instead, it goes under 'General', for reasons that I'm certain aren't cynical in the slightest.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696711)

don't forget the word usage: "Limit Ad Tracking..." it doesn't say anything about disabling, just limiting.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41696817)

don't forget the word usage: "Limit Ad Tracking..." it doesn't say anything about disabling, just limiting.

It isn't entirely clear to me if that is some sort of weasel wording about what that button deliberately doesn't do, or just an admission that there are a variety of other mechanisms, of varying degrees of subtlety and creativity, that advertising networks can and do use against you, for which the presence of the IDFA is irrelevant(ie. any app that is connected to a 3rd party login, most obviously, can be expected to own you whether or not it has a device ID to assist it).

The definition of "limiting" from the docs. (4, Informative)

kallisti (20737) | about 2 years ago | (#41697345)

First of all, I would like to clear up a common misconception. Apple did NOT ban the use of the UDID in iOS5. The few applications that did get banned did so because they stored the UDID without telling the user. If there's some legal text anywhere in the app that says they are storing this information, then they are fine. The UDID is marked as deprecated, which is just a compile time warning, but still works just fine. It is still used by a lot of people, too.

As for the new advertisingIdentifier, the Apple documentation on this subject is perfectly clear. Anyone can request the advertising device identifier, but developers are required to call advertisingTrackingEnabled. If that value is NO, the the id can only be used for: "frequency capping, conversion events, estimating the number of unique users, security and fraud detection, and debugging"

Note that this is entirely the responsibility of the developer to make sure that's all that is being done. Apple will probably pull any developer that is caught not respecting this, but how can you ever really know?

You shouldn't HAVE to turn it off (3, Insightful)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#41695993)

If Apple had any respect for thier customers, this would default to off. But just like Facebook, even Apple has decided their customers are the advertisers, not the mere users (aka product). But the Samsung ads speak a bit of truth and among the devout, this will not even stir a teapot-sized tempest, for Cupertino knows best.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (4, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#41696037)

5) Set Limit Ad Tracking to "ON".

When I want something stopped, period, I don't request that it be "limited". Weasel words like this rarely appear by accident. They are usually, ahem, limited to strategic implementations.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | about 2 years ago | (#41696185)

Easy fix for iPhone users thanks for time.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41696377)

Mine was off too.

Not easy to think it would be there.

Re:Unlike before, now you can turn it off (4, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 2 years ago | (#41696475)

If you want to turn off device tracking using the IDFA on your iOS6 device, do the following:

  • 1) Click on Settings.
  • 2) Click on General to access the General Settings.
  • 3) Click About
  • 4) Scroll down and click on Advertising.
  • 5) Set Limit Ad Tracking to "ON".

6) Press and hold the 'Power' button for five minutes.

7) Say "Steve Jobs is now a god" seven times and really mean it.

8) Put the phone in a glass case on a raised pedestal under spotlights in the middle of your living room.

9) Leave it there for forty days and forty nights.

10) Take phone out of the glass case and place it in a 100 lb. bag of virgin white rice.

11) Hermetically seal bag.

12) Leave it there for three days.

Device tracking will now probably be turned off for the next 15 minutes. If it's not, try repeating the instructions above, but this time do them with enthusiasm.

Does this really shock anyone? (5, Funny)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 2 years ago | (#41695567)

Tech companies as a whole value your privacy almost as much as a fat kid values vegetables.

Re:Does this really shock anyone? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#41695873)

Tech companies as a whole value your privacy almost as much as a fat kid values vegetables.

But ... but ... french fries and ketchup are two vegetables aren't they?

What fat kid doesn't love fries and ketchup?

And, by "value your privacy", you mean commoditize and make money from, right?

Re:Does this really shock anyone? (1)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about 2 years ago | (#41696761)

But ... but ... french fries and ketchup are two vegetables aren't they?

No my friends, they're not two vegetables!

Ketchup is made of corn syrup and tomatoes! French fries and ketchup are three vegetables!

Re:Does this really shock anyone? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41696011)

Tech companies as a whole value your privacy almost as much as a fat kid values vegetables.

It hardly shocks me; but I do find it a little surprising. Obviously, Apple doesn't give a fuck about you; but they make fantastic margins on their hardware and have been relatively successful in building online services that people will spend actual money(albeit generally in small chunks) for software and media through.

Google, their most dangerous competitor in the space(Amazon is worth a mention, for their good conversion rates and strongly integrated markets for physical goods as well; but their devices profitless and they seem largely content to skin Android because it is cheap, rather than actually trying to make Android a threat to iOS), is much more reliant on advertising, doesn't enjoy the same conversion rate on its apps and media services, and doesn't have terribly exciting hardware margins(on the hardware that it even makes, rather than just provides the OS for).

I would have thought that it would be a sensible move on Apple's part to play up the "Apple, the warm fuzzy company that doesn't track you like the cattle you are!" because they can afford not to; but Google probably can't(analogous to the way that Apple offers comparatively friendly and cheap-to-free in store basic techie services, while Best Buy gouges relentlessly, because Apple can afford to throw in the goodwill touches with their higher margin products while Best Buy probably doesn't make any money until you buy some cables or the Geek Squad gets you). Obviously, in Apple's ideal world they'd have it both ways; but sometimes it is worth leaving some money on the table if it forces your competitor to leave even more.

Re:Does this really shock anyone? (1)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41696027)

Wait... We all know that tech companies will beat you up and take your privacy away.

But if the fat kids at your school valued your veggies the way tech companies value your privacy, you must have had some pretty smart fat kids who aren't fat anymore. Did you go to school with Tim Cook?

Re:Does this really shock anyone? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#41696079)

Tech companies as a whole value your privacy almost as much as a fat kid values vegetables.

Those that don't flat out refuse to acknowledge it, can't stop chewing it away.

Re:Does this really shock anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696087)

I don't know what you mean. I was a fat kid. I am a fat adult. I was only not so fat for the few years around 18. I have always liked vegetables. Vegetables are great.

Re:Does this really shock anyone? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 2 years ago | (#41696875)

The fattest kids I know these days are vegetarians. All those veggie oils instead of healthy animal fat don't do you any good.

At least it can be disabled (0, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41695607)

The UDID of old was something you could not block access to.

Having an ID specific for ad use is better, since you can disable it (even if how to do so is a bit hidden behind a few layers of menus). Otherwise advertisers would seek some other means to tracking, and end up with something you could not as easily block.

Personally though I generally leave things like this on, I actually do want more relevant advertising (I don't use ad blockers on the web for the same reason).

Re:At least it can be disabled (-1, Troll)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41696277)

Personally though I generally leave things like this on, I actually do want more relevant advertising (I don't use ad blockers on the web for the same reason).

Let it never be said that SuperKendall was not a faithful subject of his Corporate Masters. Apple can Do No Wrong.

So you think Android is wrong as well? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41696643)

Let it never be said that SuperKendall was not a faithful subject of his Corporate Masters. Apple can Do No Wrong.

Since the current ad tracking policy is essentially the same as what Android provides (they have a box also where you can uncheck ad tracking) are you then also saying Google is doing wrong? I think it's a great compromise, as I stated ad companies would figure out some other way to track you but with the OS supported ad identifier there is a path they will use (on both iOS AND Android) that the user can disable if they wish.

I'm hardly cheering for Apple when I'm saying they could have done better in the first place.

I am merely stating that the new policy is better than the old one. If you disagree, please do give us reasons why instead of attacking people instead of arguments. Your attack on me only hurts yourself; you come off childish, petulant and uninformed. But then I guess that always was the sigil under the Apple Hater code of arms:

"PUERILLS IRREVERENS IGNARUS"

IDFA? (5, Funny)

BobNET (119675) | about 2 years ago | (#41695627)

Full armor, full ammo, all weapons, but no keys.

I think I'll wait for IDKFA.

Re:IDFA? (1)

GoogleShill (2732413) | about 2 years ago | (#41695771)

But you still need IDDQD!

Re:IDFA? (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about 2 years ago | (#41697039)

IDSPISPOPD?

Re:IDFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41697363)

Old skool!

It's IDCLIP in the 1.666 release.

Re:IDFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696005)

IDFA = International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam

Re:IDFA? (3, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#41696083)

If they can get me an iPhone that lets me walk through walls, I might just reconsider my no-Apple policy.

Re:IDFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696141)

I prefer IDSPISPOPD.

Captcha: condom
9-minute wait before posting!!!

Did you really expect them to stop? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41695639)

Come on, there is money to be made and this is America, son!

Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41695647)

So, "Apple got caught with its hand in the cookie jar" when it was discovered that people were using the UDID for things it was expressly *not* supposed to be used for. And now it's happening again when they provide a simple method to disable this new advertising-specific, non-permanent identifier?

Nope. No anti-Apple bias here. /s

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41696029)

Apple: "we need to uniquely identify our users to maximize our advertising revinue stream, and to positively lock individual devices to individual users for the sake of our media partners. Not doing this means we will make less money, and since becomeing a houshold name, our share holders are more fickle than ever!"

Users: "look, do I follow YOU everywhere you go? When you go in the bathroom, do I give YOU targeted adverts for toilet paper, sanitary wipes, tampons and condoms? No? Does that sound at all like something you would like? No? Then DON'T TRACK ME."

Apple: "your concerns have been noted, and your opinion is important to us." [Delivered in robot answering machine voice.]

User: "I will contact an advocacy group if you can't take this seriously."

Apple: "we are dedicated to workmanship and quality, and the opinions of our customers are important to us."

(User contacts advocacy group. Advocacy group raises a stink)

AG: "you are aware I am sure, that pervasive user tracking violates the user's privacy in unacceptible ways, and clues about facts a user would like to keep private, such a club affiliations, sexual preferences, past relationships, and even prior citations for minor legal offenses can be publicly exposed through such tracking and directed advertisements, right? Let alone the serious safety implications, like pedophiles tracking underage children, rapists stalking women, and muggers stalking people with expensive iDevices using tracking apps right? You honestly think that these serious implications are warranted to further your financial bottom line?"

Apple: "oh, we hadn't thought about that second part!"

AG: "so you will stop mandatory tracking?"

Apple: "yes of course! We don't want to (increase our legal liabilities because we) track our customers in such a way that they could be physically or emotionally harmed!"

AG: "Good on you apple. We are glad you understand the value of privacy."

(6 months pass)

Apple: "we have devised a compromise that still let's us make money by selling compromising infrmation to snoopy advertizers, without the legal liabilities! We will offer a NEW tracking feature, that is obfuscated, and obscured such that the user doesn't know its there, and that could theoretically be turned off if they knew how, absolving us of culpability when/if it gets misused!"

User: "do you comprehend the meaning of "I DO NOT WANT TO BE TRACKED."? Does the concept even make sense to you?

Apple: "the opinions of our customers are important to us!"

Re:Really? (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#41696777)

I guess you don't use Mozilla Firefox since they don't turn on Do-Not-Track by default.
This is basically the same thing for apps.

Re:Really? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41696931)

More like, "I want my browser to not only set the flag, but also actively sabotage tracking efforts across site domains, and nuke tracking cookies at 10 minute intervals at least. My ideal setup requires no cookies at all, but I understand their utility in things like online shopping."

Basically, I want companies like google and apple to grow the fuck up, and quit acting like babies whenever they get their hands slapped over being greedy little brats with entitlement complexes. They are *NOT* entitled to information about my spending habbits, lifestyle choices, product preferences, and absolutely not to my geographical location information. I don't care HOW much money they can make with it.

Re:Really? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#41697005)

Absolutely, Apples is not entitled to that information. But the story isn't about Apple tracking your spending habits, or about Apple tracking you at all. That's not what "user tracking" is about in iOS.

Re:Really? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41697113)

APPLE doesn't NEED to differentiate my user session from any other user session, for any sensible reason, other than arbitrary ones centered around artificial constraints to increase cash flow.

My telco needs to keep a unique user string, so they can bill me. Apple does not.

My telco does that with their SIM card.

Re:Really? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#41697219)

Unfortunately a lot of advertisers disagree and are trying all kinds of ways to track you anyway. What they have done is to create an alternative that is good enough that advertisers can use it, yet doesn't violate user privacy.

Re:Really? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41696097)

So, "Apple got caught with its hand in the cookie jar" when it was discovered that people were using the UDID for things it was expressly *not* supposed to be used for.

Funny thing: When you make yourself the gatekeeper and final arbiter of all applications allowed to run on a device, you tend to be seen as responsible for any activity you let through, whether or not it contradicts some written policy, unless you can show that it was very cleverly hidden...

Given that Apple has to OK an app for it to go live(outside of dev or enterprise deployment), and can revoke it at any time, and Apple controls what system data apps have access to, they could have nuked UDID use hard far earlier than they did. But they didn't.

How is this bad (compared to before)? (1)

vrillusions (794844) | about 2 years ago | (#41695687)

So by using a generated id that changes on device reset and giving users the option to opt out this is just as bad as before? Sure you're opted in by default but you can disable it. Before it used an id that was tied to phone and you had no control over when it got used. Also they tried to hide it but that's nothing new.

Can we not had FUDDY PR on this site (4, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 2 years ago | (#41695703)

Not only was Apple not using the UDID for user tracking (app developers were and against developer policies might I add) but specifically for iOS beta tracking, but IDFA specifically was mentioned by Apple as the legal way for app creators to do it in the future and is opt-outable. But then you cant spook idiot users can you Sophos into buying your products if you are actually honest.

Re:Can we not had FUDDY PR on this site (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 years ago | (#41696075)

What products is this spooking idiot users into buying again? Sophos doesn't sell to consumers, they sell to IT, and the only iOS apps they "sell" are free or bundled with some enterprise contract.... They might have spook articles on that blog, but this didn't seem to be one of them.

And I didn't know about IDFA, and it wasn't in the Security/Privacy sections where I'd expect it (I mean... About? Really? You hide an information security option in the About section, which should only have information "about" the product???).

As a result of this article, I'm now planning to go through the Settings app thoroughly after each iOS update from now on.

Re:Can we not had FUDDY PR on this site (1, Troll)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41697275)

It's not FUD.

Apple has deliberately buried the opt out option as a cop out for a feature that adds no value whatsoever to the customer's device or experience but allows third parties to make money by exploiting their privacy where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. This should be an "opt in" feature by default if there are truly people who "want to support the poor advertisers." Beyond that I think there needs to be a push for access to the hosts file on phones so the user can take control of what connections are using their data plan.

Doesn't Fully Disable? (3, Interesting)

Krojack (575051) | about 2 years ago | (#41695747)

So you can only "Limit Ad Tracking" and not fully disable it? Ummm ok..

Re:Doesn't Fully Disable? (0)

Gerinych (1393861) | about 2 years ago | (#41695891)

It's probably like those "Do Not Track" flags in web browsers. Basically, the websites can choose to ignore that flag and track you anyway. Probably the same kinda deal here.

Re:Doesn't Fully Disable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41697337)

Except there's no real reason why it should be "limit". For a web browser, you have no control over what cookie goes where and websites are unmoderated.

Here, you're dealing with a well formed API that *MUST* go through a review process before being approved.

So it's nowhere near the same thing. The option could have been "disable", but it didn't.

Re:Doesn't Fully Disable? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#41695959)

even better, you can't disable apple's tracking - this is just 3rd parties.

Re:Doesn't Fully Disable? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 2 years ago | (#41695973)

Call me a troll and captain obvious, but stick with ios5?

Re:Doesn't Fully Disable? (1)

Krojack (575051) | about 2 years ago | (#41696517)

Or move to Android. =) I did 2 years ago but it seems that didn't solve my problem [slashdot.org] because I went with Verizon. I did however root my phone and removed every app I could that had anything Verizon in it. I'm not really sure how they do their tracking.

Re:Doesn't Fully Disable? (1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 2 years ago | (#41697185)

nope android users aren't dumb at all. Hey clueless they're your wireless carrier. If your phone is on they are tracking you! Do you think when you make calls they have no idea what phone is connecting to there network? It doesn't matter what phone or what carrier if you connect they know where you are. It's part of the connection protocol and can never be turned off. And unless your VPNing they know every site you visit.

Re:Doesn't Fully Disable? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 years ago | (#41696123)

So you can only "Limit Ad Tracking" and not fully disable it? Ummm ok..

It doesn't disable it, because any time someone's using iAds, someone gets your connection info -- and anytime you browse websites, cookies are dropped and IPs and browser info are recorded. I can just imagine the lawsuits that would occur if they said they were disabling Ad Tracking and some site used an ad to successfully track someone.

Re:Doesn't Fully Disable? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#41696291)

"Limit" because there are still apps out there that don't use the new ID code, and thus will not (can not) respect the user's wish not to be tracked.

For myself, I don't think tracking for advertising purposes is as big a deal as many make it out to be. It's a bit creepy, yes, but at the same time, targeted ads can be useful. Take, for instance, Amazon's Special Offers on the Kindle. It doesn't seem to use targeted ads. At least I hope it doesn't; else Amazon must think I'm a crossdresser, because right now I have an ad for the Amazon Dress Shop. I would much prefer an ad for a science fiction book or hell, even Omaha Steaks, because at least I like steaks.

Please explain to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41695759)

Please explain to me what the problem is here. How deep does the tracking go? And honestly, if it's companies trying to get advertisements out, who cares if they have that information about us? Advertising is a huge expense, and blanket advertisements do a large population segment are not cost effective. With useful tracking and profiling data, a company can identify consumers who actually might be interested in their product and focus their advertisements on them, thereby reducing cost by making their advertising more effective and spending their time communicating to people who actually want their product. I know that the only click through advertisements I have ever used came from either Gmail or Facebook, simply because they actually post ads that have things I'm interested in. So what is the actual problem?

These tracking and privacy discussions always seem to me to be about privacy for privacy's sake; I have yet to see a convincing argument as to why it's a "bad thing" that a company with products I like or are interested in are able to find me.

Re:Please explain to me (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 2 years ago | (#41696289)

Just stop advertising altogether. It's useless. People will buy what they need with or without advertisement. It cost millions and dig into user privacy and people will start wars over it.

Re:Please explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696799)

> Advertising

> Buy what you need

There's part of your problem right there. The people who sell things consumers actually need don't usually blow as much on advertising. Still, while you say it's useless, it's observably not. Ad companies don't have business if they can't show results and impact, and the company goes elsewhere. Advertising definitely has results. I never get how the tech crowd understands social engineering, but believes advertising doesn't and can't work.

> People will start wars over it

You're dreaming. It's been happening for years, it'll continue to happen. Back in the day, the point of buying a cable television subscription was that then you wouldn't have to watch the ads that OTA broadcasts needed for funding. How's that working out? People are going to keep buying things from Apple, just like they keep buying things from Sony. Are you really expecting anything more than a few days of bad publicity? Because there won't be any kind of long-term retaliation for this - no literal or figurative "war", no class-action lawsuits, no stock drops, no fired executives. Nothing.

Simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696637)

The problem here is simple. They do NOT own ME! I am NOT their property. I do not need to be tracked, and I do not want to be tracked. There is No excuse, ZERO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER to include this technology in any product I buy. If I want to be tracked, have them put a tracker in their app store and I can install it when I want to. If I do NOT want to be tracked, then stay the f*ck out of MY property!

not going to stop some of their customers (-1, Flamebait)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41695781)

Unfortunately, this will still not stop hardcore Apple fanboys. They don't care about human rights violations, attempted green technology policy violations, etc. The phone could explode and burn half their face off and they'd still treat Steve Jobs like a diety and claim all Apple products are flawless in every way. At least news like this will stop more level-headed customers from buying it.

Re:not going to stop some of their customers (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 2 years ago | (#41695859)

The phone could explode and burn half their face off and they'd still treat Steve Jobs like a diety

That's because now their face looks like magic!

Re:not going to stop some of their customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696009)

So how long have you worked at Fox?

Re:not going to stop some of their customers (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#41696065)

The same can be said for the Windows fanboys, the Android fanboys, and every other damned fanboy ... that's pretty much the definition of fanboy; "my manufacturer makes awesome products and would never do anything wrong, yours are evil doodie heads who make crap".

I see just as many people mindlessly defending Microsoft on Slashdot. And, let's face it, Google's "do no evil" has become more of a joke than anything of late.

Throw in the telecoms carriers (*cough* Verizon [cnet.com] *cough*), and someone is going to be trying to screw you over at every step of the chain.

And, if you think the free software folks are any better, well, Canonical wants to embed some extra crap from Amazon [smh.com.au] .

Re:not going to stop some of their customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696273)

Bravo! A blast of pure, unmitigated sanity on the Internet! I was starting to think I was the only one.

Re:not going to stop some of their customers (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#41696563)

The same can be said for the Windows fanboys, the Android fanboys, and every other damned fanboy ... that's pretty much the definition of fanboy; "my manufacturer makes awesome products and would never do anything wrong, yours are evil doodie heads who make crap".

That's resonable and all, but you miss the point that when people talk about "fanboys" of a brand, it is usually implied that all patrons of that brand are "fanboys", and that the fanboy mentality that you describe is primarily responsible for that brands success.

Re:not going to stop some of their customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41697007)

Same? No fuckin way.
I've never seen a fanboy so rabid as apple fanboys.

Its actually kind of disturbing and borders on religous zealotry.

Can't recall any other fanboy types being like that. Maybe some of the car/truck/motorcycle peoples maybe. But in the computing world.. Apple fanboys are the most rabid and blind i've ever encountered.
Not that they don't exist for every company. But the apple ones are 'special'. lol

Re:not going to stop some of their customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696315)

Advertising is a human rights violation now? Wow. Just wow.

Re:not going to stop some of their customers (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41696457)

Um, news flash, the Microsoft Tablet RT isn't made in America either.

Source the fab. ... see?

Solution - (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#41696165)

Root your phone and install a Custom Rom with no Tracking, Oh Wait, that's only for Android Phones. Sucks to own an iPhone!

Re:Solution - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696903)

Or you could ditch your forked Linux written by an advertising company and get a Maemo/harmattan/kills device running open source software that can't and won't play Eula privacy tricks. Oh, that's right. You dOn't know how to use terminal. Sucks to be an android user!

Re:Solution - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696967)

oops, my iPhone auto corrected Jolla to "kills" and uppercased the O in "don't." Fuck me, I hate this thing. I should take my own advice and only type my replies on my n900.

Let's hear from Google haters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696177)

I know a lot of Apple fanbois don't like Google anymore - just because Google spoiled their party with Android. But a lot of them, to hide their irrational hatred, makes fun of Google (and Android by extension) as an advertisement company. It's a dig at Google, to somehow reduce their technical abilities. (and of course they conveniently forget that Apple is primarily a marketing company).

But let's assume Google is a advertisement company - and Android is this sucky copy-cat of ios, just to push ads to users, who are morons to even buy the device that keeps on bombarding them with ads all the time (it's a different thing that I have hardly seen ads on my android - except for few free apps).

Now that the context is clear, and we know what Apple has been doing behind the back, lets hear from the apologists about how is that ANY different from whatever they always accuse Google for.

As for me, last thing I want is a sneaky marketing company telling me what to install, how to use my devices, and then track me on my back.

Thought exercise (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41696427)

Since this is user reset to ON (to turn tracking off) and defaults to OFF (to be tracked), what is to keep Apple from resetting it to OFF every time they patch the OS?

(pin drops)

Well?

Re:Thought exercise (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#41696947)

Because Apple is more interested in keeping a good relationship with their users rather than tracking them. Apple makes money by selling devices, not through advertisement so there's no reason for them to track anyone. But wait a minute what is this "user tracking" thing? I mean, it's enough to read just "user tracking", stop reading and make up the rest of the story so that it sounds like Apple is this evil company that tracks their users. Right? Ehm, no. So the problem is that there will always be advertisers, not really through Apple (they tried the ad business and have sort of deprecated that idea) but that will use Apples's platform. They will come up with their own way of tracking users. Apple can't really do much about that except closing holes like the old UDID thing that wasn't supposed to be used for such things but advertisers did anyway. So the only thing Apple has done is create something in the middle, that advertisers can accept but also at the same time doesn't invade user's privacy. Again, Apple wants to sell you stuff, not sell you. So really, there's nothing in there for them by turning it off when they update the OS. They can of course do that technically, nothing stops them. But there's no incentive for them to do it, so they probably won't.

iOS6 (1)

XanC (644172) | about 2 years ago | (#41696623)

Is there anything about Safari on iOS6 that doesn't suck? Particularly egregious is the fact that it caches POST responses. Yes, you read that right. I don't know what kind of brain damage leads somebody to believe that's an acceptable thing to do.

Its only bad when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41696877)

User tracking is only bad when it comes from Google. Its okay if Apple does it :P

Re:Its only bad when (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#41697023)

Apple doesn't track their users, that's not what this story is about.
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