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Apple’s Application Tracking Transparency Fails to Stop Third-Party Tracking

Apple’s app tracking transparency that was rolled out with iOS 14.5 appears to have made no difference to the total number of active third-party trackers, nor has it affected third-party tracking login attempts.

This is according to new research from the Lock privacy application.

App Tracking Transparency was launched to give users the choice of whether or not to allow third-party tracking in apps.

Lockdown Privacy aims to test the effectiveness of the feature in stopping tracking using the top ten top ranked apps including Yelp, Telegram, Grubhub, Run Rich 3D, Starbucks, Streamer Life !, Subway Surfers, Cash App , DoorDash and Peacock TV.

He found that there was no difference in third-party tracking when users chose to “Ask app not to track” on their devices.

The number of tracking attempts was slightly lower when users chose not to be tracked.

Apple’s Application Tracking Transparency Fails to Stop Third-Party Tracking

The study finds that Apple’s claims don’t quite hold up and that new app tracking requests aren’t automatically denied. Each connection exposed a user’s IP address.

Data shared with apps included accessibility settings, times users restarted their devices, battery and screen level, and other settings.

What this report suggests is that Apple’s definition of “tracking” appears to be misleading, too narrow, and too vague.

Lockdown Privacy concludes that “the transparency of application tracking is a failure”, giving users feel a false sense of security without offering much privacy.

This suggests that Apple should communicate more clearly that ATT is a trust-based system and make it clear that it cannot stop third-party tracking.

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