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App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5 could lead to in-house tracking: Report

A new report suggests that Apple's new App Tracking Transparency could lead to companies building their own walled gardens to track users within their own ecosystems. 

Apple could launch its first headset in 2022.
Apple could launch its first headset in 2022.

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) rules are all set to go live with the upcoming release of its iOS 14.5 update, where apps will be required to ask users for permission to track them across apps and services. The move has got advertisers and platform where advertisements are served up in arms against the move, while privacy advocates have hailed the move.

However, a new trend seems to be emerging, where apps will move towards first-party data collection and use that data for the personalisation of services and advertisements, according to a new report, which suggests that the creation of such a ‘walled garden’ would prevent Apple from stopping developers from tracking users.

Also read: Apple’s app tracking transparency feature to roll out by early spring

According to a report by Mobile Dev Memo, game developer Zynga announced during its Q4 earnings call that it wanted to construct walls around its first-party properties so that it could bring cross-platform play, and build an advertising network - an autonomous system. The report also cited another mobile ad network Applovin, that recently acquired mobile attribution company Adjust as indicative of a possible ‘walled garden’ consisting of Applovin’s first-party games and Adjust’s analytics and tracking which would also be first-party.

Apple has so far been very clear in its communication to app developers. If your app collects data that is shared between two (or more) companies then it would be considered tracking. According to Apple, examples of tracking include showing targeted advertisements based on user data collected from other companies, sharing location or email information with a data broker, sharing emails, advertising IDs or other IDs with a third party advertising network, or adding third-party SDKs to target advertising or measure efficiency.

Read more: Twitter a goldmine for tracking consumer mood on prices, Bank of Italy finds

The report goes on to state that such a system would need a “strong central infrastructure team” keeping in mind the challenges of operating an in-house ad network and that if Zynga didn’t end up making its own first-party walled garden to collect user data, another company would end up doing so, and Apple would not be able to undermine such a walled garden as it would probably open the door to anti-competitive action. Apple’s requirements for App Tracking Transparency will be enforced with the launch of iOS 14.5, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

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