They file a lawsuit against user tracking on Android: iOS announces a more private alternative, but also controversial

In recent months it has come ‘animating’ the debate around digital activity tracking technologies of users, as well as the development of new alternatives, both in mobile technologies and in the WWW.

The Lawsuits Against iOS and Android Tracking Systems (the latter, sued this week by a pan-European platform), but the alternatives that arise are not without negative aspects.

Who and why has reported the use of AAID on Android?

The NOYB (‘Not Your Business’) platform, founded by Austrian pro-privacy activist Max Schrems, has filed a lawsuit with the French Data Protection Authority accusing Google of violating EU regulations with its AAID, or ‘Android Advertising Identifier’.

According to NOYB complaint, this identification (present in almost all Android smartphones in the EU) it is created automatically and Google prevents its deletion, which violates European standards that require the “informed and unequivocal” permission of the user. It is true that there is the option to reset the AAID (that is, change it to a new one), but that does not delete the old data or prevent advertisers from tracking your activity with the new ID.

Sorry Google, but we can't quite believe you when you talk about privacy

Schrems he is not just any activist: this lawyer filed the lawsuit that led to the annulment of the ‘Privacy Shield’ for not guaranteeing the protection of the data of European citizens; and now, your decision to file your claim in France (and to base it on the basis of the EU electronic privacy directive, and not the GDPR) is calculated in order to allow quick action against Google by the French authority, without the matter lingering in court.

Apple is already thinking about the next step

In addition, it so happens that NYOB already sued Apple last year for the use of IDFA (IDentifier For Advertisers), a tracking technology equivalent to AAID … and one of the consequences of the lawsuit is that now Apple seems determined to restrict tracking to the digital activity of its mobile users.

In the coming weeks iOS 14.5 will be released, and one of its novelties lies in the fact that iPhone applications will be required to ask users for permission to track your digital activity by accessing your IDFA.

On the other hand, Facebook is turning out to be one of the biggest opponents of Apple’s new measure, having proclaimed himself spokesman – although some it may be shocking– from “free internet” and “small business” advocates who will be affected by the inability to display personalized ads.

Zuckerberg’s company, in fact, has come to pay full page ads against Apple, for two days in a row, in prominent American newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

FLoC marks the (controversial) path

But, at the end of the day, all this news about the techniques of monitoring the activity of mobile users are only the reflection of a debate that has been going on for much longer on the WWW, a parallel that -with the understandable caveats – shows us where things can end up evolving on iOS and Android.

An example of what we say is FLoC technology, developed by Google as a way to “say goodbye to cookies” and put fin to individual user tracking without suppressing any option to personalize the ads (since the ‘cohorts’ of users will be used as a reference).

How FLoC works and what questions does Google's alternative to cookies raise that promises to revolutionize online advertising

In other words, we are facing an API focused on privacy that is also open source. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. And yet, numerous voices are raised denouncing that this will only centralize the online advertising business around Google. As reported by Marketers for an Open Web:

“Google’s proposals are bad for independent media owners, bad for independent ad technology and bad for advertisers. The people who will be most affected by this will be the smaller local publishers and independent companies.”

Significantly, Google’s first tests with this technology have not been carried out in Spain, as for now FLoC does not comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) European.

Via | Axios & Engadget

Leave a Comment