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Apple is cracking down on Chinese tech companies that are working on ways to get around upcoming App Tracking Transparency rules, reports Financial Times.

nba-tracking-prompt.jpg

Starting in iOS 14.5, Apple plans to begin requiring app developers to obtain express user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, and earlier this week, news suggested that the state-backed China Advertising Association was testing a tool to skirt Apple's rules.

Apple on Thursday sent warnings to at least two Chinese app developers using methods to track app usage without user permission. "We found that your app collects user and device information to create a unique identifier for the user's device," reads Apple's email, which says that the developer must update the app to comply with App Store rules within 14 days or risk its removal from the App Store.

According to Financial Times, the app developer in question was using a tool called CAID, which was developed by the aforementioned China Advertising Association. The China Advertising Association this week said that CAID it is not "in opposition" to Apple's privacy policy, but that may not be accurate given the warnings that Apple sent out today.

A Chinese marketing industry veteran told Financial Times that "big and small firms" in China are all considering CAID, but Apple's recent actions "will put a stop to these tests." Some of the biggest tech companies in China, such as Baidu, ByteDance, and Tencent, are all testing or implementing CAID to identify users.

ByteDance, for example, has recommended that developers use its SDK to issue CAID1 and CAID2 identifiers. One is based on a user's IP address and the other is based on the phone's IMEI, which is a unique identification number. The CAID1 and CAID2 identifiers violate Apple's rules because they do not ask for user permission before collecting this data. ByteDance has also recommended that developers use "fingerprinting and probabilistic matching" to identify users, which is also against the App Store Guidelines for App Tracking Transparency.

The China Advertising Association said that it is developing additional services that will collect and store personal data from users to create a "fingerprint" for each person. Any app that uses the CAID system will collect user data and send it to a central server to create a CAID identifier that will be used for cross-app user identification purposes. The CAA claims that users can opt out of CAID, but by Apple's definitions, it is not allowed in the first place.

Tech experts believe that Chinese apps plan to tweak their apps in "numerous ways" to get past Apple's App Store review team, with one likening it to a "cat-and-mouse" game. Apple has said multiple times that apps that disregard user preference when it comes to ad tracking will be rejected, which could lead to difficulties with Chinese companies and the Chinese government going forward.

Article Link: Apple Warns Chinese Tech Companies Not to Circumvent App Tracking Transparency Rules
 

thadoggfather

macrumors G5
Oct 1, 2007
13,879
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I'm still curious why this is now coming out with 14.5, app tracking stuff, and not way sooner.

wasn't this suppose to be a 14.0 release? Did they get too much kickback from other tech co's?
 
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HiVolt

macrumors 65816
Sep 29, 2008
1,065
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Toronto, Canada
I'm still curious why this is now coming out with 14.5, app tracking stuff, and not way sooner.

wasn't this suppose to be a 14.0 release? Did they get too much kickback from other tech co's?
It was announced for iOS 14. So its not like these companies didn't know.

It sucks that it's taking this long. Apple should also pop up a warning if IMEI or any unique number is being requested by any app.
 

contacos

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2020
1,300
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Mexico City living in Berlin
A bit off topic, but China does not allow non-Chinese applications... Why do we?

cuz China managed to make everyone dependent on them. Why do you think everyone is being so quiet about their camps. And people wonder how the Nazis could operate their concentration camps for so long. Ignorance and blind eyes are a bliss when you are in business with them
 

ArPe

macrumors 65816
May 31, 2020
1,283
3,306
Now we see even clearer why we shouldn’t have multiple app stores on a phone like Tencent puppet Epic wants. There are real life monsters out there who want to know everything their critics and dissidents around the world are doing. You open your mouth and they will find a way to know you and your family. It’s real mafia level stuff. Huge international and personal security problem.

Imagine, they don’t like what a politician says and then they start collecting where is that politician’s children.
 

CthuluLemon

macrumors regular
Aug 14, 2020
202
284
Apple has said multiple times that apps that disregard user preference when it comes to ad tracking will be rejected, which could lead to difficulties with Chinese companies and the Chinese government going forward.

Lol, difficulties? Not with Tim Cook at the helm. He's not going to risk his awards and honorary degrees.
 
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LV426

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2013
1,311
1,171
I'm still curious why this is now coming out with 14.5, app tracking stuff, and not way sooner.

wasn't this suppose to be a 14.0 release? Did they get too much kickback from other tech co's?

Certain app developers started squealing when the policy change was announced, so Apple gave them a few months to change their apps and behave themselves.
 

bobbie424242

macrumors 6502
May 16, 2015
296
379
How could China and Apple get along for so long? They seem on a irreconcilable trajectory path and the thing is going to burn and crash sooner or later...
Google does not operate in China for a reason.
 
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