Apple returns to the charge with its tools for protecting private digital data. The iPhone and Mac maker is launching a new global campaign to remind iPhone and Mac owners to activate protective measures that have already cost Facebook US$12 billion but also target the many other online advertising agencies.
Not without irony, it is via an advertising campaign that begins today that Apple wishes to remind its many customers all over the world of the presence on its devices of defense tools against the monitoring of their mobile or online activities. . The campaign lists the different ways that website and mobile app publishers can track users both on the Web and in the real world: mobile geolocation data, websites visited, nature of online purchases or from a digital portfolio, content items pulled from text messaging or email. All this information put together sometimes says a lot about the activities and habits of the public. Some advertising networks or agencies specialize in collecting and grouping these different sources of private data to better target individual consumers whom they will then inundate with advertisements.
Many people suspect their phone is listening in on their conversations when they see an advertisement on a website for a product they just discussed buying with their significant other. These people do not know that it is enough to cross one or two of these digital data sources to produce a very detailed profile of their tastes and their needs.
Without naming any company in particular, Apple says its campaign targets online agencies that trade such data for targeted advertising. However, the two most important companies in this sector are Google and Facebook. There are, however, several dozen, some specializing in advertising tracking in applications, others in video games, and still others on websites.
Apple, therefore, recalls that the settings introduced on its telephones and computer devices last fall allow Internet users to protect themselves against such tracking. Its mobile devices can provide an approximate location. Their mailbox hides the user’s Internet address in addition to disabling read message flags. His text messaging is end-to-end encrypted and cannot be viewed by a third party…
This is an advertising campaign that aims to promote the Californian brand’s products, but to see Apple redouble its efforts in this niche tends to demonstrate that these tools are valued by their users. One thing is sure, their impact is very real: in the presentation of its financial results at the beginning of the year, the management of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, had admitted that the protection tools put in place by Apple would cause it to lose 12 billion in ad revenue this year.
Android in the footsteps of the iPhone
This emphasis by Apple on the protection of data generated by its customers is strategic: the iPhone is one step ahead of its rivals with Android systems in this area. But it’s only a matter of time before phones sold by Google, Samsung, and others adopt similar tools.
On the occasion of its Google IO conference last week, Google presented the first series of tools intended for creators of applications for Android which aim to better regulate the collection of data made by these applications. Google plays on both counts since, in addition to producing Android mobile software, the most popular on wireless worldwide, the Mountain View company in California is also the largest online advertising agency.
Owners of an Android device who hope to have complete control over the collection of their data that is done on their mobile will however have to be patient: Google is giving itself “a few years” to deploy its suite of protection tools.
This, obviously, allows Apple to have the advantage in this area and to brag about it without any embarrassment in its advertising campaigns…