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New Apple tool tracks app users' actions

Posted: , by Alan F.

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New Apple tool tracks app users' actions
Apple is about to release a tool that will help developers but will also surely reignite privacy fears last seen when worries about Carrier IQ dominated the industry landscape. A story in the Wall Street Journal that is based on information from those who have been briefed by Apple, says that the company will soon announce a tool that will allow app developers to track information about the people who download their software.

Without being ablke to target mobile adds, 
developers and mobile ad networks stand to lose millions in revenue

Without being ablke to target mobile adds, developers and mobile ad networks stand to lose millions in revenue

Last summer, Apple said it would stop app developers from using the Unique Device Identifier, or UDID, as a way to track app users location and preferences as they go from app to app. The UDID is used by mobile operators to help display ads and gather information. While it is nothing more than string of  anonymous numbers, some privacy experts worry that when additional information is added to the UDID, it might be able to allow carriers to recognize individual users. Nearly two years ago, we told you that a study showed that 68% of the 'Most Popular' and 'Free apps' in the App Store transmitted UDID data to developers, possibly allowing hackers to gain access to information about app users.

While Apple has yet to say how it plans to block developers' access to UDID data, the manufacturer has not yet blocked the information from reaching the code jockeys who write the 600,000 apps in the App Store. As for the new tool it plans on introducing soon, one of those who has already met with Apple says that it uses numbers not tied to a specific device.
"Everyone is waiting for Apple to do something. There are a lot of different viewpoints in the industry. We don't need more confusion. We need less."-Lars Albright,CEO of mobile marketing firm SessionM and a former executive for Apple's iAd
Blocking UDID info would potentially take money out of the hands of developers and mobile ad networks. If neither can target ads using the information it has been receiving from Apple, both could lose millions of dollars in revenue. These firms say that they need a way to personalize ad content and need to know preferences to send out custom ads. Other attempts to use different data to track app users, such as using the ID in a handset's wireless network hardware, have not worked. This is where the new tracking tool comes in.

Developers are hopeful that Apple goes into more detail about this new tracking tool at next week's WWDC 2012 in San Francisco, which starts on Tuesday.

source: WSJ

26 Comments
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posted on 09 Jun 2012, 07:44 6

1. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)


crazy rotten Apple no more lawsuits on Samsung and other companies it is time to "Wake Up" and produce your own components and assemble in the USA.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 11:21 5

6. QinEmpire (Posts: 145; Member since: 16 May 2012)


"Wake up" when even Samsung have sweatshop in Vietnam, Indonesia that pays even lower than Foxxon in China ? Lol.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 16:59 1

24. networkdood (Posts: 6253; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


ironic that an apple user is telling someone to 'wake up'

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 08:26 5

2. andro. (Posts: 1936; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


Apple has a history of tracking and spying on its ifanatics and this is just another method of it,should we really be surprised?! Ifans don't care and so as long as they keep buying into the apple pr they will lose less and less of their liberties.Coincidently enough the apple app store icon resembles a certain cult icon

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 08:49 4

3. josephnero (Posts: 287; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


nicely said andro

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 12:23 4

10. rf1975 (Posts: 238; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


Do not forget about Google's bypass of Safari privacy settings which is under US, Europe investigation.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 18:29 1

18. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


EVERYONE was bypassing safari's settings, not just google. MS and all the others got busted for it too. Apple knew about it for OVER A YEAR and did nothing until they miraculously got mad that google was using the setting glitch to add the "G +1" to news stories to link to G+ and tried to sue them. Its publicity and nothing more.

Its also very old news that anyone with half a brain laughs at.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 12:44 1

12. andro. (Posts: 1936; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


I had typed that wrong,i meant more and more of their liberties lol.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 11:22 1

7. QinEmpire (Posts: 145; Member since: 16 May 2012)


Google you mean, prove it lol

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 12:19 6

8. rf1975 (Posts: 238; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


So you think others like Samsung & Google not tracks their users. Do not forget Carrier IQ incidents.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 12:20 3

9. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


1. Google is the king of collecting your personal data

2. Provide some proof because we know you're trolling as usual.

You have an unhealthy obsession with Apple which probably comes from self esteem issues.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 09:15 1

4. tedkord (Posts: 4307; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Maybe phones could adopt a more TV like ad system, based on demographics. Obviously, if we want privacy, no personal info, but just an aggregate of what sites are visited, what apps purchased, etc...for all phones of a type. Then, say if most internet activity is to stream Pandora, maybe music companies will want to advertise.

I mean, TV advertisers mass market, not target advertise.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 14:26

15. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Target advertising is more effective and cheaper so it's going to keep moving in that direction.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 11:13 1

5. QinEmpire (Posts: 145; Member since: 16 May 2012)


Wonderful, 3 fandroids just said what I wanted to say.
the irony is.. Google is constantly finding new ways to track their user for their bread and butter. Apple is not even in the advertising business, why would they need those info? Use toyr brains before you comment.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 12:23 2

11. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Thank you lol. Google tracks EVERYTHING you do and not a peep from android users on here.

But then we know they're not here to have a discussion but to troll

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 13:05 2

13. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


No, Apple is in the ad business to. That's what iAd is all about. Both Google and Apple track their users information. The question is if any of this info can be used in a malicious manner?

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 14:18 2

14. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I think realistically the only information available is what you willingly provide. If you really don't want to be tracked don't use smartphones or social media.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 15:54 1

16. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Exactly! I don't think either company want to know or even cares where we are or who we communication with for the most part. They just want to sale ACCESS of us, to advertisers. They don't care if your visiting your mother on the other side of town. They just want to show you the new restaurant offering a good deal on pizza while you in that area. No danger if all they want is a little anonymous data. And on both OSs you get a pop up asking permission to track you, so if you don't want to be tracked ...click no.

Now this developers tool don't sound like something I want, but we'll have to see what it really is when iOS6 comes out.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 17:16 1

17. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


How's the developer tool any different than all the other ways we're being tracked?

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 18:32 1

20. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


because with Google they go out of your way to notifiy you and make it easy for you to opt out. Thats not something apple is so famous for...
In fact its quite the opposite. "tracking your every movement for exactly 1 year was a glitch.. yea.. a glitch that we are not going to fix!" - Apple

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 22:44 1

22. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Bs from u as usual. Apple is known to protect their users privacy hole google is known for having no respect for their users privacy. As always remix you're detached from reality.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 20:12

21. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


That's my question too. The part remix brings up is worrisome as well as where they say "a tool that will allow app developers to track information about the people who download their software." Exactly what info are they talking about and how will it be used. You know there is some jackass out there putting together a code to steal user's Siri queries, a FaceTime hack, or something like that. I just wanna know how what info of our these guys will have.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 18:30

19. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


apple is most definitely in the advertising business. What the heck do u think iAd is?

" Use toyr brains before you comment."

I think you were trying to say "Use YOUR brains before you comment".. which you obviously are not.

Busted twice in one response by our own troll words. sucka.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 10:42

23. axllebeer (Posts: 265; Member since: 05 Apr 2011)


Ok well between this article and all of the comments, think I'll stick with my BlackBerry.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 17:02

25. networkdood (Posts: 6253; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


iADs also track your personal info - just like any ad online that requires cookies to be enabled by a user.

I actually see a use for this app if it were expanded to be available for iProduct users.
Parents always want to know what kids do with their smartphones, so this app could be modified to allow a parent to go online and see what apps are being accessed and data used. Great for parents with kids whose data allowance is limited and to ensure that wifi is being used.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 17:04

26. networkdood (Posts: 6253; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Oh, and this is for the great duo of Taco and striker...err, QinEmpire:
http://arstechnica.com/apple/2011/04/how-apple-tracks-your-location-without-your-consent-and-why-it-matters/

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