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Missouri senator asks Apple to offer full 'Do Not Track' option for iPhone & iPad apps

Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, urging him to enable a "Do Not Track" option for iPhone and iPadOS apps, and not just in places like Safari.

Hawley wrote that he was "pleased" by tighter location-tracking controls introduced on Monday, but that Apple "can still do better," according to The Hill. This fall's iOS 13 will introduce a "just once" permission option. The company is also instituting mandatory logs for app location access, and bans on exploiting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth data for ad targeting.

With backing from Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Hawley is promoting a bill that would create a nationally-enforced "Do Not Track" registry. That would deter tech companies from collecting anything beyond essential data from Americans who sign up.

Hawley is also behind the "Protecting Children From Abusive Games Act," which would block sales of loot boxes to people under 18, along with "pay-to-win" purchases that give some customers an unfair advantage. Loot boxes are increasingly accused of encouraging gambling, since adults and children alike may have to buy several to get items they actually want.

That legislation would likely impact Apple's bottom line, since many popular App Store titles like "Candy Crush" and "Words With Friends" are "free-to-play" titles that in reality depend on loot boxes or pay-to-win mechanics to make money. This fall's Apple Arcade may help reduce dependence on exploitative apps.