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Apple’s new privacy ad is a nice watch, but Facebook doesn’t approve

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Apple just released a witty new ad titled “Data Auction” designed to throw another dagger into the heart of data-gathering ad networks that rely on building sophisticated profiles based on online behavior or preferences. from users. We don’t know if it was shot on an iPhone 13 Pro or not, but the cinematic feel and production values ​​certainly make for a big impact.

This is a war Apple started some time ago, with probably Cupertino’s biggest, most brutal move yet, the release of App Tracking Transparency with iOS 14.5. This feature brought to light a practice that was known, but somewhat hidden beneath the surface, and was considered a fact of life. App tracking transparency allows users to very easily prevent an app or service from building a significant data profile based on the user’s device and internet usage.

Social networking giant Facebook has been one of the loudest entities against App Tracking Transparency, and no wonder: Mark Zuckerberg’s company is estimated to lose nearly $13 billion by 2022 as a result. Other popular and hard-hit companies include Snap, Twitter, and YouTube.

User data privacy is something Apple was obviously pretty good at, due to its unique business model and positioning. Today, privacy has become a strategic weapon that Apple likes to exploit against other Silicon Valley giants. And boy often abuses it.

Some of you may recall that around the same time last year, Apple released a rather powerful privacy-focused ad called “Tracked.” In a rather extreme way, it was meant to show what it looks like for various apps and services to track your data and behavior throughout your user journey throughout the day. Probably the most shocking aspect of it was giving a glimpse of how many hands can endure fractions of your data.

The current ‘Data Auction’ spot sheds light on the entire digital user data industry and the level of detail it can sometimes achieve in terms of personal data collected. First of all, Apple’s goal is to raise awareness of these practices, and so one of the iOS features it wants to highlight here is the app privacy report in the iPhone and iPad settings app, which provides a detailed breakdown of how often your apps have access to different types of data. Likewise, Safari privacy report can show you some statistics about how many web trackers are blocked from following you on the web.

“Data Auction” is pretty meticulous in going through the main ways your iPhone can help you disallow tracking. For example, at one point in the ad, the auctioneer sells Ellie’s (the main character) late-night texting, her location data, her online purchase history, and even contact-related information. Of course, the company would be quick to point out that text messages on Apple ecosystem devices are fully encrypted, Apply Pay doesn’t track what you buy, and contact-related details are never shared without your express permission to do so. So.

The final nail in the data hoarder’s coffin comes when Ellie turns on Mail Privacy Protection, which prevents email senders from learning things like whether you opened their message, whether you forwarded it, or your IP address. This seems fitting, because that’s where the auctioneer started – selling her emails, specifically the ‘one’s she’s opening’.

This is an ad, and Apple’s obviously doesn’t care; it aims to paint a grotesque underground world where user-identifiable data is auctioned off to shady entities for their future business dealings. Of course it’s quite extreme in the way it represents the whole process. There is certainly a case for the user and small business benefits of modern digital ad networks and how they work. But many of Apple’s competitors rely heavily on their advertising activities, and will not fail to use this leverage to slow them down.

At the end of the day, iOS is probably a tad too aggressive at blocking tracking behavior, but it does put control in the hands of users, and that’s a good thing. We hope this will help move the advertising industry to a better and more advanced place.

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