Apple is stepping up privacy for app users, forcing developers to be more transparent about data collection and warning they could be removed if they don’t comply with a new anti-tracking measure, a company executive and regulators said Tuesday.
The US tech giant said it’s set to roll out the anti-tracking feature next year and warned it could kick apps off its widely used App Store if they don’t obey its requirements.
Called App Tracking Transparency, it will require apps to clearly ask for users’ permission before tracking them. It was due to be launched this year but was delayed to allow developers more time to make changes.
“Its aim is to empower our users to decide when or if they want to allow an app to track them in a way that could be shared across other companies’ apps or websites,” Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said.
“Developers who fail to meet the standard can have their apps taken down from the app store,” Federighi said in an online keynote speech to the European Data Protection and Privacy Conference.
Privacy campaigners say the move is a vital step that could strengthen respect for privacy but tech rivals like Facebook that make money from digital advertising that tracks users have pushed back against the measure.
Federighi said tech users should be empowered to have more control of their data and dismissed arguments from advertisers and tech companies who say the anti-tracking feature will hurt the online ad industry.