As of iOS 14.5, the App Store has stopped accepting apps that don’t ask users for permission to spy on them. And those that continue to follow the user despite their ban. According to Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, this Apple privacy feature will hurt small businesses that rely on targeted advertising. Targeted advertising is a major source of revenue for Facebook, and a number of other companies. Apple’s actions and unreasonable users will also hurt those users themselves by depriving them of free content. But compared to the iCloud Private Relay feature in iOS 15, all the horrors of iOS 14.5 are minor annoyances.
The real fight between Apple and Facebook is yet to come
All these horrors seem to apply only to Apple and its operating systems. But its example will be followed by developers of other operating systems, or users won’t understand them. The surveillance of users by apps, which until recently seemed inevitable, is not liked by anyone. Facebook (in full-page pamphlets in multi-circulation editions) tells of other unfortunate consequences of Apple’s actions.
Instead of ads that suit them and fit their personality and preferences, they will see random commercials. Not taking into account gender, age, recent purchases, history of online shopping pages and more. Facebook and other free services will have to become paid. Right now, they make money on targeted ads, which are more likely to convert into purchases than “at random” ads and generate more revenue.
Facebook VS Apple
Apple required developers to ask users for permission to spy and track user data.
But that’s not the worst part.
New privacy features (banning tracking without the user’s knowledge and privacy shortcuts) became a prerequisite for app acceptance on the App Store in late April of this year. In the first month of the second quarter, the results of which Facebook reported the other day. The results are record-breaking. Facebook’s total revenue was $29.1 billion. Advertising revenue was $28.9 billion. That’s a 56% increase over the same quarter last year. Facebook’s net income was $10.4 billion, exactly double that of the second quarter of last year ($5.2 billion).
While two months out of three this quarter, Apple’s killer rules were already in effect. The results exceeded investors’ expectations. And Mark Zuckerberg’s apocalyptic expectations, which he’s been talking about for the past two months, haven’t come true. Perhaps not yet. Facebook CFO David Wehner made two important statements. First, he admitted that Facebook still hasn’t met all of Apple’s requirements. Second, he suggested that the results of the third quarter of this year will be more modest.
What is iCloud Private Relay
iCloud Private Relay promises to be an extremely serious security system
The Private Relay feature (technology) is a bit like a VPN. Apple encrypts all Internet requests sent from our devices, so even our ISP won’t know anything about our movements on the World Wide Web. Our IP address is then replaced with a random IP address, and sent to a third-party repeater. The repeater doesn’t know who sent the request. Those who collect data about visitors to the resource know nothing about the visitor. Neither their email address, nor their financial transactions, nor their physical addresses. They say that Apple itself will not be able to decipher this data. Can we believe it? There’s no way to verify it.
It may be true. The feature is available in the paid iCloud subscription, which will be renamed iCloud+ in the fall. For now, Private Relay only works in Safari, in beta versions of iOS 15 and macOS. Over time, the feature will spread to other browsers – at least there’s interest from their developers. Private Relay is not a panacea, either. On many services, the user has to disclose data about himself. But if you extend this approach to all communications, one day the world will indeed become safer.
Ask the app not to track
Most users forbid apps to track
Apple most likely has the exact data. As you would expect, it does not share this information with anyone. There is no particular need to hide this data. But there is no need to share it either. The range of data from unofficial sources is enormous. According to one of them, 75% of users prohibit surveillance. According to others, it is 90%. According to some it’s 57%. Some state that only 2% of users allow apps to spy on them, but that’s a bit much.
To be sure, let’s take the most common option, about 75%. In other words, three-quarters of the inhabitants of Apple’s ecosystem don’t let advertisers and small businesses make money from targeted ads. Which very rarely, in my observations, guesses what might be of interest to me. But it should now be said to be either good or nothing. And nothing is known about Apple’s own user tracking. All we know is what its officials say. We cannot verify what they say.