New iPhone operating system version difficult apps track data personal to the end user: Facebook already warns that this will destroy part of its business

Apple is becoming increasingly difficult to track personal data through apps within its operating system, to the point that Facebook has just warned that it could have devastating effects on part of its business.

This Wednesday, Silicon Valley's most famous social network has published a post on its official blog denouncing the changes that Apple plans to incorporate in iOS 14, the revamped version of its mobile operating system that will soon reach the iPhones. Apple intends to prevent apps from being able to track users using their unique Device Identifier (IDFA) without explicit permission, something that Facebook's ad network uses to personalize ads in third-party apps.

Facebook says that this change will have a significant impact on its Audience Network (the platform with which it deploys ads within third-party applications with which it earns revenue), cutting its revenue on the iOS operating system by up to 50% due to its inability to deliver targeted and therefore valuable advertising. The move could even force Facebook to stop using this platform on iOS altogether, as the company has advanced.

"It's not a change we want to make, but unfortunately the updates Apple has implemented on iOS 14 have forced this decision. We know that this measure will surely drastically impact publishers ' ability to monetize through Facebook's Audience Network on iOS 14 and, despite our best efforts, could make the Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future," the post adds.

New iPhone operating system version difficult apps track data

The Facebook Audience Network is just one piece of the social network's revenue (it's unclear what its true magnitude is), and your core advertising business within your own apps will not be affected. But any attempt to restrict the collection of personal data can pose a threat to Facebook, and the company has already been very clear recently about the risks that regulators and platform changes may pose.

During a recent conference with analysts on the latest quarterly results, social network executives argued that Facebook has been a "lifesaver" for small businesses during the pandemic, and preventing them from effectively targeting their potential customers with targeted ads could have dangerous "macroeconomic effects."

It is an argument that Facebook has reiterated in the post published this Wednesday. "We understand that iOS 14 will harm many of our developers and publishers at a time of enormous business difficulty. We work with more than 19,000 developers and publishers around the world and in 2019 we pay billions of dollars. Much of that money went to small businesses that rely on ads to survive."

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Google engineers acknowledge that the company's privacy policy is "confusing" after its latest lawsuit

A lawsuit against Google has put on the table new information regarding its data processing policy and location tracking: and its own engineers have acknowledged that the configuration is confusing for both company users and employees.

For that reason, in May, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich's filed a complaint with tech for being opaque about its privacy terms and because, despite people rejecting some of the options, they remained active. For example, location.

In an excerpt from the lawsuit, which was made public last week in the local Arizona Mirror, several Google techs acknowledged that the company's configuration is made in such a way that it is very difficult for users to disable certain preferences.

"It seems to be designed to configure all the possibilities, although, in reality, it is so extremely complex that you will never be able to manage to choose the settings you want," says a worker of the company, as has disclosed the same source.

"It is clear that it is misleading [the Privacy Policy] If we need other colleagues to explain it to us," says another employee.

"We've been building data control for a long time, and our team is constantly working to improve it," a Google spokesperson told Arizona Mirror. "As for location information, we've heard the feedback and feedback we've been given and we've worked to improve. In fact, the published information has forgotten to mention that the goal of the team responsible was to reduce the confusion about the adjustments and their history, " he added.

In part, the complaint stems from a previous investigation by The Associated Press, which found that the technology continued to obtain the location of its users, even when they had deactivated it.

Then, Google defended itself from the accusations in an official statement. Now, suspicions reappear, due to the versions of their own engineers claiming that the terms are misleading.

"I agree. Disabling the location should mean disabling the location, and not except in that case or the other, " clarified another employee.

"From the user's point of view, it makes no sense. Moreover, I myself thought I had the location data turned off on my mobile, " admitted another technician of the giant, as collected by the local media. "It is complicated enough that we, the specialists, cannot understand it well. That's not good, " he added.

The tax department has written in the lawsuit that " even high Google charges do not understand the conditions of use of the location."

New documents, which have been released alongside the court excerpt, show that Google avoided responding to The Associated Press investigation, calling the internal meeting they had for that reason "a shitty meeting" to discuss that aspect and decide what their public position would be.

"The terms of Use and the Privacy Policy look for an update in which you will have to adjust the location history, so that, instead of having to disable them 3 times, they turn off in a single setting," noted as a summary of the meeting one of the employees of Google, is contained in the same document.

According to other papers, the technology firm followed the media coverage of the controversy in the press and managed to count 60,000 mentions on the subject on social networks. The company rated Nearly 100% of these news and references as "negative."

But this is not the first time that Google has faced legal scrutiny when it comes to data processing.

Last December, after receiving its third multi-million dollar fine in 3 years, the European Union opened an investigation into monopolistic practices, precisely because of the way it collects users ' personal and browsing information.

U.S. regulators are also looking at whether Google's online advertising benefits you in your ad revenue and search business. In fact, a group of prosecutors —including Arizona, Brnovich— and the U.S. Department of justice are investigating the matter and new legal actions are expected in the coming months.

Recently, Sundar Pichai, the head of Google's parent company, Alphabet, has been interrogated as part of a commission of inquiry that delves into the monopolistic practices of this company and others (Amazon, Apple and Facebook).

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