Apple Delaying Plans to Limit Third-Party Tracking in Kids Apps

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Apple is delaying its plans to limit third-party tracking and ads in apps designed for children, reports The Washington Post.

The company's decision comes following an inquiry from The Washington Post about app developers who are unhappy with the changes and what it means for the way free apps for children function.


Earlier this year, there were reports suggesting Apple would limit third-party ad tracking in apps aimed at kids to better protect their privacy, and Apple formally announced changes in June. Apple initially planned to roll out these changes in September, but is now holding off to give developers more time to adjust to the new rules.
Following an inquiry from The Washington Post, Apple said Friday that it now plans to delay the rule changes. "We aren't backing off on this important issue, but we are working to help developers get there," Apple spokesman Fred Sainz wrote in an emailed statement. The statement said some developers had asked Apple to clarify the new rules, but that "generally we have heard from them that there is widespread support for what we are trying to do to protect kids."
Apple's new App Store guidelines prevent apps for kids from using third-party analytics services, which can collect a lot of data about usage habits. Apple is also "severely curtailing" ad sales in kids apps.
In order to help keep kids' data private, apps in the kids category and apps intended for kids cannot include third-party advertising or analytics software and may not transmit data to third parties. This guideline is now enforced for new apps. Existing apps must follow this guideline by September 3, 2019.
Gerald Youngblood, the developer behind the Tankee video gaming app for kids, told The Washington Post that Apple's new rules could limit Tankee's ability to show ads, thus impacting his decision to make the app free.
Tankee shouldn't be lumped in with the apps that are negligent and fail to protect children, Youngblood said. "We thought they were going to shut down these apps that are ignoring privacy and targeting kids," he said. "We were built with privacy as a foundation."
Several other app developers and creators echoed concerns about the changes, including Dylan Collins, the chief executive of SuperAwesome, a company designed to help developers navigate child-privacy laws. "This will simply kill the kids app category," he told The Washington Post.

Apple has not said how many children's apps collect personally identifiable information on children, making it unclear how widespread the issue is. Rather than blanket banning all tracking and cutting down on ads, developers want Apple to mandate that all kids apps use advertising and analytics vetted for safety.

Developers also take issue with the fact that the new rules don't prevent developers themselves from collecting data or showing ads, it simply limits third-party options. Developers say that Apple's new restrictions will simply incentivize them to start developing apps technically made for adults, even if the users end up being children.

Apple's Phil Schiller told The Washington Post that Apple initially tried contacting developers and advertising software operators to ask them to remove inappropriate ads, but that approach ultimately failed. Schiller went on to say that Apple spoke to some developer ahead of implementing the new rules. "We gathered enough data that we're doing the right thing," said Schiller.

It's not clear how and when Apple will ultimately implement the app changes that it outlined in June, and it's not known if the company plans to make alterations before rolling out new guidelines.

The Washington Post's full article has more detail on how the changes could impact apps designed for kids and it's well worth checking out if you're a developer or a parent.

Article Link: Apple Delaying Plans to Limit Third-Party Tracking in Kids Apps
 

DaRev

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Apple is delaying its plans to limit third-party tracking and ads in apps designed for children, reports The Washington Post.

The company's decision comes following an inquiry from The Washington Post about app developers who are unhappy with the changes and what it means for the way free apps for children function.


Earlier this year, there were reports suggesting Apple would limit third-party ad tracking in apps aimed at kids to better protect their privacy, and Apple formally announced changes in June. Apple initially planned to roll out these changes in September, but is now holding off to give developers more time to adjust to the new rules.Apple's new App Store guidelines prevent apps for kids from using third-party analytics services, which can collect a lot of data about usage habits. Apple is also "severely curtailing" ad sales in kids apps.Gerald Youngblood, the developer behind the Tankee video gaming app for kids, told The Washington Post that Apple's new rules could limit Tankee's ability to show ads, thus impacting his decision to make the app free.Several other app developers and creators echoed concerns about the changes, including Dylan Collins, the chief executive of SuperAwesome, a company designed to help developers navigate child-privacy laws. "This will simply kill the kids app category," he told The Washington Post.

Apple has not said how many children's apps collect personally identifiable information on children, making it unclear how widespread the issue is. Rather than blanket banning all tracking and cutting down on ads, developers want Apple to mandate that all kids apps use advertising and analytics vetted for safety.

Developers also take issue with the fact that the new rules don't prevent developers themselves from collecting data or showing ads, it simply limits third-party options. Developers say that Apple's new restrictions will simply incentivize them to start developing apps technically made for adults, even if the users end up being children.

Apple's Phil Schiller told The Washington Post that Apple initially tried contacting developers and advertising software operators to ask them to remove inappropriate ads, but that approach ultimately failed. Schiller went on to say that Apple spoke to some developer ahead of implementing the new rules. "We gathered enough data that we're doing the right thing," said Schiller.

It's not clear how and when Apple will ultimately implement the app changes that it outlined in June, and it's not known if the company plans to make alterations before rolling out new guidelines.

The Washington Post's full article has more detail on how the changes could impact apps designed for kids and it's well worth checking out if you're a developer or a parent.

Article Link: Apple Delaying Plans to Limit Third-Party Tracking in Kids Apps
[doublepost=1566352054][/doublepost]Free Ad-supported Apps are terrible, I much prefer free trial periods and letting people buy the games/apps if they actually find them worth paying for.
 

macfacts

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[doublepost=1566352054][/doublepost]Free Ad-supported Apps are terrible, I much prefer free trial periods and letting people buy the games/apps if they actually find them worth paying for.
Apple doesn't allow tracking, result is people can have unlimited trials and not pay.
 

calzon65

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Jul 16, 2008
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Companies tracking kids in kid type apps, yea really gross! Apple should not drag their feet on this … just don't allow it.

But what if parents legitimately wish to keep track of their kids?

I think if there was a tracking option in a "kids app" and if ALL tracking related data was limited SOLEY to parent's access, and only parents could activate tracking, then maybe parents should be allowed to track but defiantly not a company or some app developer.
 
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Imdougurnot

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Jul 4, 2017
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they're all dependent on those annoying worthless tiny ads and they can't live without them. Goes to show that they're not really making apps for kids but addictive vehicles for crap ad deployment (for kids).
I guess Death to Smoochy was more accurate than not.
 
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Lalatoon

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I wonder what things can be track from kids usage..
I also wonder what personally identifiable information are recorded from kids? :)
I am curious what ads are appearing on those apps for kids?

I am thinking, If Apple is really thinking about the kids, why not they create apps for kids for free.. I mean they are the first company who reached $1 trillion and now is sitting around $ 970 billion.

Does Apple has a share from whatever income free apps gets from ads?
 
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MauiPa

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Apr 18, 2018
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Damn straight! This is one email that we all as parents or respectable people SHOULD email Tim Cook and Eddie Cue regarding this.

Atrocious and unacceptable.
I believe the issue is not tracking in kids apps (yes crappy creepy devs do this), but that apple in closing it off entirely is creating problems for third party developers who also protect kids. Some of the apps I’m led to believe have some good parental contriol features that parents want. So killing them off and not working with them to find a great solution is not in parents or kids best interests
 
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thasan

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I wonder what things can be track from kids usage..
I also wonder what personally identifiable information are recorded from kids? :)
I am curious what ads are appearing on those apps for kids?

I am thinking, If Apple is really thinking about the kids, why not they create apps for kids for free.. I mean they are the first company who reached $1 trillion and now is sitting around $ 970 billion.

Does Apple has a share from whatever income free apps gets from ads?
YouTube in tv. Used exclusively for kid. We see invideo adds of violent movie action trailers time to time. My kid sometimes get scared with these.
Apps showing ads? Could be better or worse but why take chances when I can’t have the visibility like a tv unless I’m standing behind my kid every second...?
I think we are ignoring a very important point: these ad-based games work like subscriptions. They bring in constant cash flow instead of one off payments. Nothing to do with “making app free” BS.
 
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DaRev

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YouTube in tv. Used exclusively for kid. We see invideo adds of violent movie action trailers time to time. My kid sometimes get scared with these.
Apps showing ads? Could be better or worse but why take chances when I can’t have the visibility like a tv unless I’m standing behind my kid every second...?
I think we are ignoring a very important point: these ad-based games work like subscriptions. They bring in constant cash flow instead of one off payments. Nothing to do with “making app free” BS.
I saw the trailer for Get Out in Angry Birds Transformers, probably not ideal to show kids.
 
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v3rlon

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Sep 19, 2014
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Unlike creepy-gross advertising strategies, the appearance of nominative determinism is one of life’s pleasures.

I want to hear what Harold Kiddygame and Georgina Infantplay have to say on the matter. :D

Yours,

Ryan Forumscribbler
I’m no like these other scumbags! I don’t deserve to be lumped in with them! I’m innocent.

—-Every criminal in every jail in history

Sorry, but you guys had the chance to do the right thing, and failed SPECTACULARLY. Have you seen the ads that come up in kids games?
Have you seen the “freemium” nonsense trying to what, addict kids to gambling while in kindergarten?

No pity for any of them.
 
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fairuz

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It takes too much to make a smartphone kid-safe, and I don't just mean the screen protector. But more importantly, there's nothing they really gain out of it. Seems like a no-brainer to me, wait till 18.
 
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Khedron

macrumors 68000
Sep 27, 2013
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I wonder what things can be track from kids usage..
I also wonder what personally identifiable information are recorded from kids? :)
I am curious what ads are appearing on those apps for kids?

I am thinking, If Apple is really thinking about the kids, why not they create apps for kids for free.. I mean they are the first company who reached $1 trillion and now is sitting around $ 970 billion.

Does Apple has a share from whatever income free apps gets from ads?
Apple gets a 30% cut of ad revenue if they're served by Apple's ad service.

Apple is an advertiser, and privacy is just a smokescreen to make their own advertising platform more competitive by restricting competition. Just like with ads in Apple News. Apple prevents tracking to "protect" customers, but if you want to pay Apple they'll target your ads to particular demographics for you.
[doublepost=1566369944][/doublepost]
Companies tracking kids in kid type apps, yea really gross! Apple should not drag their feet on this … just don't allow it.

But what if parents legitimately wish to keep track of their kids?

I think if there was a tracking option in a "kids app" and if ALL tracking related data was limited SOLEY to parent's access, and only parents could activate tracking, then maybe parents should be allowed to track but defiantly not a company or some app developer.
You mean track your kid's location? Just use Find My Friend?
 
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Classie

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Nov 3, 2018
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Is this maybe due to having to much stuff going on; Spotify, App Store monopoly... maybe leaving this battle for later?

Anyhow, they should prioritize this. It’s disgusting to allow companies to target children, also tracking them - really!?Come on Apple!
 

mcalict

macrumors member
Jan 11, 2013
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Not sure why any of this is a surprise as long as the model is based on getting an app for "free." Free comes at a cost - you or your kids data. Don't like it? Pay for an app so developers can make enough to live off (and Apple enforce 0 tolerance tracking). But that won't happen. People say they want privacy but their values and pocket-book don't back it up. The problem is in the mirror IMO. We can change this behavior. The truth us, do people (looking in the mirror) want to? Truthfully, they don't. They want to spend another $5 at Starbucks and complain about someone else not addressing 'the problem.'
 

Jim Lahey

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Apr 8, 2014
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I have long taken the default view that all third party apps are essentially data acquisition tools. Wherever possible, I personally prefer to use Safari (with a VPN and ad blocker) over an app that largely offers no advantage other than convenience, and potentially becomes an unnecessary data leak.