It’s hardly surprising for Apple that its latest iOS release brings security and privacy front and centre. Ultimately, the goal for any operating system should be to make you and your data safer than ever before. For example, you will now know for sure if any particular app is using the microphone or camera to monitor via an indicator light (orange or green) in the top right of the screen. You can also now give apps certain permissions with respect to photos and locations, but with you retaining full control. It is likely that there are some apps you feel more inclined to trust with respect to accessing your photos or knowing precisely where you are.
Some would argue that the most pivotal update has been the introduction of ‘App Tracking Transparency’. Essentially, this requires app developers to serve pop-ups that directly ask people to opt in to being tracked across other companies’ apps and websites. Yes, you heard it correctly – apps will have to specifically request permission to track you across other apps and sites. Understandably, this is where the mobile-advertising world is up in arms. Although under pressure from perhaps the biggest player here (Facebook), it looks like Apple won’t be fully enforcing this feature just yet..
And Apple’s privacy stance hasn’t gone down too well in Germany either. An antitrust complaint filed at Germany’s competition agency concludes that Apple’s new enhanced privacy setting, could unfairly exclude companies from advertising revenues (while bolstering its own). The complaint was filed at the German Federal Cartel Office on behalf of the nine industry associations and companies that it represents (including Facebook).
In the face of all of this, Facebook (and Instagram) appear to be testing the ground by suggesting to users that they will charge for access on iOS 14.5 unless users give them their data. Screens have appeared on both Facebook and Instagram that unashamedly infer that if users agree to allow ads, then they are doing their bit to keep Facebook and Instagram free. Does this mean if users decline ads that both companies will charge for access in the future? We shall wait and see if this is all just sabre rattling for now.