The online world has become nothing short of a literal landmine nowadays. With almost every website or application asking for a myriad of permissions, cookies, and all sorts of details, its hard to keep track of what’s going where. Users have to either simply fork information over, unaware of what ramifications that might pose, or become hypervigilant to the point of paranoia. No one wants to spend half an hour poring over the terms and agreements for a fun game they got off of the App Store. Now, this is where Track and Transparency kick in.
The new feature essentially compiles information that your Apple devices are handing over to developers and complies it into 3 groups: data used to track you, linked to you, and not linked to you. Fairly self-explanatory in terms of sensitivity, but let’s discuss them for the sake of clarity. Data used to track you, the most threating of the three, can extract information linked to your device and can include contact information as well as physical locations. Data linked to you pertains to all methods of personal identification such as email IDs, browser history, and whatnot. Data not linked to you, the “safest” of shared data, simply pertains to minor tidbits of user exchange that cannot cause any harm.
Tracking and Transparency further allows you to block such applications on your devices, thereby protecting your identity online. Further planned updates will also give the user prompts to facilitate data collection to enable targeted advertisements on apps and platforms. Users will be given the option to either share information, or opt out entirely. The latter update was originally planned for the iOS 14, but has currently been postponed as Apple gives third party developers time to work out new avenues for advertising. Companies such as Facebook have rallied against these features, claiming that such restrictions can cripple independent app designers. Apple has responded to this outcry with firm resolution, stating that users need to be clearly informed about how their information is used.
This latest feature, most probably Apple’s last highlight for 2020, will be featured on the App Store in the form of a tab. All developers with apps on the store will have to comply with the latest feature by clearly spreading out all the information they obtain and how. While the complete effectivity of such tactics has yet to be seen, it does feel like a solid step in the right direction.
This post was written by Arooj Ahmed and was first posted to Digital Information World
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