Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Ad group urges 'dialogue' with Apple about iOS 14 privacy features

Credit: Apple

A group representing digital media and advertising industry organizations has penned an open letter to Apple urging the tech giant engage in dialogue before instituting potentially restrictive iOS 14 privacy changes.

The letter, signed by The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, is a reaction to Apple's new policies that make certain user tracking tags opt-in on a per-app basis in iOS 14. That policy has sparked backlash from marketers and advertisers who claim it will negatively impact ad revenue from iOS devices.

Specifically, the changes in iOS 14 apply to Identifier for Advertiser (IDFA) tags, which allow advertisers to collect aggregate data about users without harvesting their personally identifiable information. In iOS 14, Apple is requiring that apps and advertisers obtain permission from users to "track them across apps and websites" owned by other companies through a prominent pop-up box.

While the letter praises Apple's decision to delay enforcement of the new privacy features, it requests an "urgent meeting ensure we use that additional time to launch a collaborative process to address widespread questions and concerns around those upcoming changes."

While the organization says they share Apple's support for consumer privacy, it claims that — without a dialogue — the proposed changes could have a "negative impact on both consumers and businesses."

"In particular, we hope to better understand the specific rationale for such changes, how the changes will be implemented, and what steps might be taken by marketers, publishers, app developers, and other parties to ensure that critical functionality is preserved," the letter reads.

The letter claims that Apple's privacy features could have a negative impact on ad-funded apps, news organizations, and "ad-supported innovation and competition."

As far as the dialogue, the partnership hopes to ask Apple several questions, including:

  • How advertisers could cap ad frequency on Apple devices.
  • Whether apps will be allowed to require IDFA activation.
  • What changes Apple "might consider" to the new IDFA policy.
  • Whether Apple will allow the use of IDFA for non-targeting purposes.
  • Future privacy systems advertisers could use to "reach groups of users with common interests."
  • Whether Apple will apply the same IDFA policy to its own apps and services.

Although initially slated for a release with iOS 14, Apple has since pushed rollout of the opt-in mechanism to 2021.