Apple reportedly developing new app-tracking software

Steven Loeb · June 10, 2012 · Short URL:

Developers would still be able to gather app data, but will not have access to UDIDs

There is good news out there for privacy advocates and those concerned about advertisers having too much access to their information.

If reports are true, Apple seems to have listened to users complaints about app tracking and will now be developing a new tool to better safeguard user privacy, while still allowing developers to gather data for advertising.

After hearing complains from people concerned that its Unique Device Identifier, or UDID, could be used to identify people, Apple is going to unveil a new app tracking tool, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

A UDID is a number unique to every phone that is meant to be anonymous. They are permanent and users cannot block them from being sent.

App developers began to use this number to track usage, in order to gather data and send it to a third party advertisers, without the user’s consent. Since every phone has its own unique UDID, the numbers can be used to learn the identity of the person being tracked, and that is what caused so many people to be leery of advertisers getting their hands on it.

In March, Apple began rejecting apps that access UDID information and now seems to be finally taking the final step to block all access to them.

The report by the Wall Street Journal is light on details, except to say that the new tracking service will better serve the privacy of users and that the new tool may be unveiled in the next week or two, most likely at its Worldwide Developers Conference 2012, which begins in San Francisco on Monday.

It is unknown at this time how the tool will work, or how it will guarantee that the privacy of users will not be violated. The report did not say whether the new tool would require users to give their permission for their app usage to be tracked.

VatorNews reached out to Apple but it could not be reached for comment.

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