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Apple could ban mobile apps that don't block ad tracking

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Apple (opens in new tab) has said that some mobile apps may be banned from the App Store if they do not comply with upcoming privacy standards. The launch of Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency protocols have already been delayed to give developers more time to address potential privacy issues, but it seems likely that this will not be enough to ensure that all applications are compliant.

According to Reuters, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, told the European Data Protection and Privacy Conference that users will soon be able to choose whether they allow advertisers to track them across different websites and apps.

“Early next year, we’ll begin requiring all apps that want to [track users] to obtain their users’ explicit permission, and developers who fail to meet that standard can have their apps taken down from the App Store,” Federighi said.

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Privacy pushback

When App Tracking Transparency has launched, apps will be required to provide a pop-up notification asking users whether they give permission to be tracked across apps and websites owned by other companies. Advertisers are worried because they expect most users will decline.

Although the proposal has received praise from privacy advocates, it has also drawn its fair share of criticism. Major tech brands, including Facebook, have argued that smaller developers that rely on in-app advertising could be harmed by the new regulations. Apple is also facing an antitrust complaint in France, brought by four online advertising lobby groups.

Despite the pushback, Apple remains clear that the new policy will be going ahead and argues that it is necessary to disrupt a “privacy-invasive status quo.” Of course, Apple does not have a completely clear conscious when it comes to online privacy and was accused of tracking user behavior (opens in new tab) earlier this year by an Austrian NGO.

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Via Reuters (opens in new tab)

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.