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Apple delays iOS 14's anti-tracking features until 2021 A small win for an industry that has been preying on us all for far too long

Week 150.0 — 7th September '20

MacRumors posted an article about Apple delaying the enforcement of their anti-tracking feature that's part of iOS 14 until early next year.

This four (or more) month delay will hopefully be short enough to mean that the ad industry don't find a way around this crucial feature. I'm sure they'll find a way to get around it eventually but the longer it takes the better it will be for us all. If anything, the ad industry should innovate to make ads more appealing from the perspective of users and publishers rather than them feeling like a necessary evil.

John Gruber on the topic:

The entitlement of these fuckers is just off the charts. They have zero right, none, to the tracking they've been getting away with. We, as a society, have implicitly accepted it because we never really noticed it. You, the user, have no way of seeing it happen. Our brains are naturally attuned to detect and viscerally reject, with outrage and alarm, real-world intrusions into our privacy. Real-world marketers could never get away with tracking us like online marketers do.

...

Imagine if you were out shopping, went into a drug store, examined a few bottles of sunscreen, but left the store without purchasing anything. And then immediately a stranger approached you with an offer for sunscreen. Such an encounter would trigger a fight or flight reaction — the needle on your innate creepometer would shoot right into the red. (Not to mention that if real-world tracking were like online tracking, you'd get the same creepy offer to buy sunscreen even if you just bought some. Tracking-based offers are both creepy, and, at times, annoyingly stupid.)

...

The entitlement of these fuckers is just off the charts. They have zero right, none, to the tracking they've been getting away with. We, as a society, have implicitly accepted it because we never really noticed it. You, the user, have no way of seeing it happen. Our brains are naturally attuned to detect and viscerally reject, with outrage and alarm, real-world intrusions into our privacy. Real-world marketers could never get away with tracking us like online marketers do.

I get it, both ads and tracking tools are a necessity on the web. Of course publishers want to understand where their readership is spending their time and how big that audience is. Ads bring in money to keep everything going but together they're just a recipe for disaster. There's just no need for them to be so invasive but that's what they are.

Facebook have also raised concerns that this feature will cut 50% of their Audience Network ad revenue. Well for me that's great news, it just shows how much of a commodity we have become to these giants. Any attempt to thwart their tracking hits their bottom line. When a company is worth billions of dollars, how much sympathy can you really have?

So it is annoying that this feature will be delayed, but it's something that is necessary and will bring these shady practices to the forefront. It's probably going to annoy some users when they're asked to accept or reject being tracked. Maybe some of that criticism will head towards Apple because it will start happening after an OS update, but the message is clear enough that the irritation should be directed a the companies that operate in this way. Ad networks should also give publishers more control on how their users are tracked or how invasive ads are allowed to be on their properties.

More from 1 Thing A Week
« Follow @cchana on Dribbble How website tracking should work An update on my linked data experiment »

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Notable

Quick links and commentary on interesting articles, videos and more throughout the week.

  1. 150.1 – Monday
    1. "The Argument" trailer Gravitas Ventures on trailers.apple.com
    2. Teaching a six year old about cyphers & how to encrypt and decrypt messages using a private key @dscape on twitter.com
    3. A Jeep in a box u/the_tip_of_my_tongue on reddit.com
  2. 150.3 – Wednesday
    1. Liverpool FC: The 30-Year Wait bbc.co.uk
    2. NESPi 4 case for Raspberry Pi 4   £30 Retroflag on thepihut.com
  3. 150.4 – Thursday
    1. The Big Brexit Short Bloomberg QuickTake Originals on youtube.com
    2. Combining solar panel technologies could boost energy production by a third informationisbeautiful.net
  4. 150.5 – Friday
    1. Scotland launches contact tracing app with Apple and Google API macrumors.com
    2. Jeff Bezos could write every child born in America this year a $24,000 check and still be as rich as before Covid. @AnandWrites on twitter.com
    3. The apocalyptic red western skies caused by climate change-fuelled wildfires kottke.org
  5. 150.6 – Saturday
    1. Coronavirus: England and Wales' contact-tracing app gets launch date bbc.co.uk
  6. 150.7 – Sunday
    1. "Ghosts" season 2 trailer BBC on youtube.com

Jump to notable items for Week #149, Week #151 , view the notable archive or my favourites.

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