back to article Will Apple blink? ByteDance, Tencent, others ready new ad-tracking tech in defiance of iOS privacy protections

The Chinese Advertising Association has developed an identifier called the China Anonymization ID, or CAID, to ensure the continued ability to track iOS users after Apple implements its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework. The technology is currently being tested by some of China's largest technology companies, including …

  1. Richard Boyce

    What's the Chinese government's attitude to this likely to be? Would this be regarded as useful for surveillance? Is the average chinese person as blase about privacy as most people in the west?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmmm, mandating a magic SDK to grab some ad revenue looks like an excellent opportunity to spread some spyware, fast. Even if not now, the temptation is guaranteed to prove too much.

      Not a good move, and there is every chance that developers using this may be thrown out of the App Store for it and to be honest, I would be totally OK with that.

      It's a bit like <a href="https://crosstec.org/en/downloads/analyticsanyway-for-joomla.html>this reprehensible stuff</a> which seeks to aimed at absolutely disrespecting people's wish (and right) for privacy.

  2. sbt Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Principles or profit?

    It shouldn't be a hard decision to value all your customers' privacy the same regardless of country. It's getting harder when more and more developed countries are wholly authoritarian and will go along with privacy killing tech. Rather than compromise, the citizens of such countries should see what they lose when companies like Apple withdraw from compromised markets. Maybe they'd question their governments' approaches a bit more.

    Anyway, this growth at any cost model forced on listed companies by equity markets needs reform. The costs to the environment and personal freedoms are too high.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Principles or profit?

      Now we'll see if Apple stance on privacy is really about customers' rights or just a way to hit competitors' business.

      1. sbt Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: [what their] stance on privacy is really about, or, Another epic battle

        Yes, so far it hasn't been about hurting themselves, without a reliance on user profiling or sales to advertisers. If anything, they've taken a gap in their portfolio of customer monetisation opportunities and turned it in a differentiator. That'll be tested by the devs 'unionising' here. Then again, maybe Apple doesn't flinch from taking on Epic battles.

      2. DS999

        Re: Principles or profit?

        So you think Apple's stance on privacy should ignore the laws in other countries? Because given the relationship between big Chinese tech companies and the government, if they all agree on this CAID thing it is coming from the government and would be formalized into a law.

        If Facebook filed a lawsuit against Apple over their being butthurt about losing this advertising ID thing and somehow won, do you think Apple should defy US courts and refuse to comply?

        1. sbt Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: do you think Apple should defy US courts and refuse to comply?

          No thumb either way, but obviously Apple is free to withdraw from overseas markets if they don't want to accept the local rules. I don't think that's comparable to their choices in the US.

          I can't see them losing to FB or any other advertising company in a US court case over tracking IDs, though. Apple aren't even stopping app devs from tracking; they're just requiring transparency over it.

  3. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Get real

    Of course Apple will not so much blink as wink at China.

    Just as they just did with Russia:

    "Apple Agrees to Let Russians Pre-Install Local Apps on iPhones"

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-16/apple-agrees-to-let-russians-pre-install-local-apps-on-iphones

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Isn't that different?

      Wasn't that a legal requirement place on Apple for to continue selling in Russia?

      1. DS999

        Re: Isn't that different?

        Yes, they passed a law and iPhones would be illegal to sell in Russia if they did nothing.

        Nothing is pre-installed on the iPhones sold in Russia, but if you activate an iPhone in Russia it will bring up a little dialog asking if you want to install these Russia specific apps which would be downloaded and installed at that time. The end user has the right to refuse. I assume they chose this way as it was the bare minimum way to comply with the law.

    2. ppTRA

      Re: Get real

      Technically that isn’t pre-installing apps. No external software is present on the iPhone when people buy it, nor there is an obligation to install any software. As such Apple didn’t compromise the iPhones sold in Russia.

  4. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    The concern is that if enough apps in China implement CAID, via an ad SDK that supports it, Apple will be unwilling to risk the economic and political blowback from banning them all

    Not sure about that.

    China can demand tracking to be enabled based on geographical location, such as "any handsets" inside China, Tibet and Hong Kong.

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