Apple’s anti-tracking feature is a failure, study says

One of the features Apple introduced earlier this year as part of an iOS 14 update is the transparency of application tracking. Basically, this is a feature meant to give users a choice whether or not they want an app to follow them. Obviously, when you put it that way, most users would opt out.

It was something that companies like Facebook had a lot of problems with. However, it turns out that maybe these companies don’t need to be so worried after all. In a study by Lockdown Privacy which was originally taken over by The Washington Post, this seems to suggest that the anti-tracking feature built into iOS is kind of a dud.

According to the study, researchers spent five months studying the top ten apps on the App Store to see if the feature actually stops tracking as it claims.

“Using the open source Lockdown Privacy app and manual testing, we found that the transparency of app tracking made no difference in the total number of active third-party trackers and had minimal impact on the total number of login attempts. third-party tracking. We further confirmed that detailed personal or device data was sent to trackers in almost all cases. ATT was functionally unnecessary to stop third-party tracking, even when users explicitly choose “Ask application not to track”.

The study even goes on to suggest that the feature could actually be dangerous as it could lull users into a false sense of security because they think their privacy is protected. They claim that the feature’s flaw is that it is built on the “honor system” and that it’s up to the developers to be honest. However, if the developers see that other developers are lying, they have no incentive to show off either.

Apple has since responded to the study where, according to spokesperson Fred Sainz, “Apple believes tracking should be transparent to users and under their control. If we find that a developer is not respecting user choice, we will work with the developer to resolve the issue, or they will be removed from the App Store.

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