Study finds Apple’s app tracking transparency is being bypassed by some apps

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Study finds Apple’s app tracking transparency is being bypassed by some apps
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  • According to Independent research, nine iOS apps have bypassed iOS app tracking transparency (ATT).
  • Apple introduced ATT in 2021.
  • Data privacy still remains the biggest concern for big tech giants.
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Apple introduced app tracking transparency (ATT) with iOS 14.5 last year, where every iPhone and iPad gave an option to ask apps not to track your activity. It was a bold move and aimed to bring transparency. However, Konrad Kollnig, an independent research firm has figured out that developers have been bypassing the new iOS privacy features to track users even when they didn’t want to.

The research has raised concern over app tracking transparency as it has been found that apps are still collecting user data discreetly from the device.

According to research, nine iOS apps were using server-side code to generate a user identifier even when app tracking is manually disabled. The code shows some relation with the Chinese company Alibaba.

In the whole investigation, 1,759 apps were released before and after the ATT. Though one in four apps declare that they don’t gather any consumer information and 80% of them has at least one tracking library.

The researcher said, “Our findings suggest that tracking companies, especially larger ones with access to large troves of first-party, still track users behind the scenes. They can do this through a range of methods, including using IP addresses to link installation-specific IDs across apps and through the sign-in functionality provided by individual apps (e.g. Google or Facebook sign-in, or email address)”.

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Use of data for market dominance
Big tech giants not only utilize data they even use it for competitive advantages. According to Bloomberg, Apple provided user data to a group of hackers that forged legal requests in order to get information in the 2021 social engineering scam.

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