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Mozilla praises Apple anti-tracking privacy features in iOS 14

Credit: Mozilla

Mozilla, the organization that maintains Firefox and other open source projects, has launched a new campaign in support of a suite of privacy features that Apple is introducing in 2021.

Specifically, the internet company praised Apple's iOS 14 anti-tracking feature, which makes a specific type of advertising tracking tag opt-in on a per-app basis.

The feature revolves around a new disclosure about Identifier for Advertiser (IDFA) tags. It lets users know that a specific app "would like permission" to track users across other apps and websites, and requires users to explicitly "allow tracking" or disallow it.

"Apple's planned implementation of anti-tracking features is a huge win for consumers, many of whom might not even be aware that they can be tracked across apps on their phone," Mozilla wrote of the feature. "Now, with the option to opt-out of tracking at the point-of-use, consumers won't have to sift through their phone's settings to protect their privacy."

In addition to voicing its support for the anti-tracking feature, Mozilla is collecting virtual "signatures" from users who would like to voice their own support for Apple's privacy stance.

The Cupertino tech giant actually delayed the rollout of the feature until 2021 after companies that rely on advertising, such as Facebook and media publishers, began to push back or raise concerns about it.

Mozilla, in its campaign, said that consumers and companies need to ensure that Apple implements the feature and doesn't "kick the can down the road."

"We need a massive outpouring of support for Apple's decision to help strengthen its resolve to protect consumer privacy," the Firefox maker said.

Facebook has been one of the most vocal critics of the new iOS 14 privacy changes, claiming in one report that it could cause advertising revenue to drop at least 40% and as high as 50%. A group representing various advertising organizations and interests has also urged a "dialogue" about the feature's implementation.

Apple, at this point, doesn't appear to be changing its plans for the release. Besides delaying the rollout to give developers more time to prepare, the company seems to be on track to launch the new privacy feature in 2021.

The Cupertino tech giant in 2020 also launched another privacy feature on the App Store in "nutrition labels" that give users more information about what data apps collect and what is done with that information. That feature, already in effect, should be slowly adopted by app developers as time goes on.