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Apple's iAds allows users to opt out of data collection

Apple has launched an official page that allows iOS device users to opt out of personal data collection, such as information regarding downloads and purchases, for its iAds mobile advertising service.

Users can visit oo.apple.com on any device running iOS 4 and Apple will allow the user to opt out of data collection for iAds. Users will receive the message "You have successfully opted out."

In a new support document, Apple said that users who opt out may see the same ads as before, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on their interests. Ads can also be related to the content in an application, or any other non-personal information.

"Apple and its partners use cookies and other technologies in mobile advertising services to control the number of times you see a given ad, deliver ads that relate to your interests, and measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns," the company said.

In addition, this week the company added a new section to its customer privacy policy, entitled "Location-Based Services." Users must agree to the new terms and conditions before they can download anything from iTunes or the App Store.

"Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device," the addition reads. "This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide important location-based products and services."

The changes follow a move from earlier this month, in which Apple decided to allow third-party agencies to collect user data with their consent. Modifying section 3.3.9 of its iOS developer agreement, Apple said that applications "may not collect, use or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior user consent."

The new developer agreement also states that information can only be provided to "an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads." That excludes the largest mobile ad network, AdMob, because it was acquired by Google, the maker of the Android mobile operating system.

Apple has high hopes for its iAd network, projecting that it will eat up half the mobile ad market in the second half of 2010. Apple plans to use iAd as a program to incentivize App Store development, and does not expect to turn a great profit from its new advertising business, made possible due to the purchase of Quattro Wireless for $275 million.

Apple's iAd service is set to launch on July 1. This week, the first applications compatible with the iAd network were made available for download in the App Store. They require a device running iOS 4.