Apple has been taking steps to guarantee user privacy. The technology implemented the application tracking transparency (ATT) feature last year with iOS 14. This option allows you to “choose whether an app can track your activity in the apps and websites of other companies with advertising purposes or to share information with data operators”, without giving up the operation of the application.
But that transparency system could have a trick. An investigation has revealed that it is Apple itself that now collects usage data even without explicit consent.
Apple would trace the data without authorization
Apple has sought to limit the ability of developers to be tracked for advertising purposes, even by compromising the companies’ mobile advertising business. And he kept his promise: “In iOS 14.5 or later versions, iPadOS 14.5 or later versions, and tvOS 14.5 or later versions, apps have to ask for permission before tracking your activity in apps and websites from other companies.”
“If you choose Ask app not to track, the app developer cannot access the identifier for system advertising (IDFA), which is often used for tracking. The app is also not allowed to track your activity using other information that identifies you or the device, for example, your email address”, says the multinational on its website.
However, as iOS developers and Mysk cybersecurity researchers have detected, the technology itself would be collecting data about users without their consent. As they explain in a thread on Twitter, the App Store seems to send every tap on the app to Apple. The system remembers the itinerary and collects usage data, which it later sends to the carrier, even if they had turned off device analytics sharing.
According to gizmodo, the information obtained is quite detailed: it includes what the user is looking for, where they click, and the time they spend reviewing an application. And depending on the app, this data can also include iPhone model, screen resolution, and even keyboard language.
“It’s unclear if Apple still collects analytics data in iOS 16, even when shared analytics and personalized recommendations are turned off. In any case, the App Store already knows a lot about our behavior and how we explore applications”, these cybersecurity specialists point out in their conclusions.
Given the revelations, a group of US users has filed a class action lawsuit against the company, understanding that Apple illegally records the confidential activity of users regarding their consumption of mobile applications, according to information from Bloomberg Law.