Apple Reportedly Plans To Limit Tracking In Kid's Apps

Photo: Michael Short, Getty

Sometimes I lose track in Silicon Valley. Apple is supposed to be the privacy company, right?

That’s what the billboards and TV commercials keep saying. Yes, Tim Cook jumps over the low bar on privacy set by his Silicon Valley competitors, but it’s becoming clear Cupertino still has work to do — and it seems as though they know it.

Apple will reportedly introduce new third-party tracking limits on kids apps, according to The Wall Street Journal citing an anonymous source. The most likely time for such an announcement will be starting next week at the company’s annual week-long Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

When it comes to Apple and privacy, the App Store is the company’s biggest weak spot. Over the last week, multiple reporters tackled Apple’s strange moneymaker. In The Washington Post, Geoffrey Fowler clocked thousands of trackers sending mountains of data back to advertisers hidden inside iPhone apps.

The Journal’s Joanna Stern looked at how these data-hungry apps suck up everything they can possibly know about kids, just like they do adults, making no real effort to differentiate between the two groups.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Apple committed to “continue to address the challenges of improving transparency and helping users get stronger privacy and security protections for the data they’ve chosen to share”.

Every big tech event is underlined by privacy now. Both Facebook and Google spent F8 and I/O, their respective developer conferences, talking about privacy before and after every new product announcement.

Apple is in another league when it comes to privacy. They’re there not just because of their track record and business model, but because of the loud promises and in-your-face marketing they pitch around privacy.

Apple’s most famous recent ad, unveiled on a billboard outside a tech conference with all their Silicon Valley competitors present, declared that “what happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone”.

Shouldn’t that be true even if I, oh I don’t know, decide to use the phone’s App Store?

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