This week Apple began rolling out an update of its lates iOS operating system putting the user in greater control of privacy. The changes will limit tracking websites visited by users, which companies do to create user profiles and distribute advertising deemed relevant. Many websites allow hundreds of different data collection companies to watch users, build a profile, and subsequently show ads during browsing.
Calls of a “seismic shift” in mobile advertising, a 100 billion dollar market, will impact fashion companies who significantly use tracking to reach consumers. We’ve all been there: shopping online and clicking on a certain item, say a pair of shoes. Those same shoes will show up on your favourite news website, Google search, on mobile, on desktop, and follow you wherever ads can be placed.
It is likely a majority of iPhone users will decline allowing companies to collect data and opt out of being tracked. Apple has already ruffled the feathers of Facebook Inc, a company that relies solely on advertising for its revenue. Advertising will be less effective if companies don’t have data to directly communicate with users.
Apple has said it wanted to give its customers more control over whether data collected on them by apps is shared with third parties. Some apps request access to more data than is required to provide their service.
What happens with user data?
The exchange of information can go to advertising networks, advertising publishers, attribution and measurement providers, data brokers, other private companies and even governmental organizations, says Apple. Social media and ad tech companies either face or have paid millions in fines for using personal data for purposes outside those they had specified to the user at the time of collection.
Apple has less use for data than Facebook, as it generates revenue from selling devices and services, rather than advertising.
To see an example of how your data is processed, read Apple’s “A Day in the Life of your Data.”