Apple’s New Privacy Settings Explained

April 8, 2021

 – Episode #


We all know our iPhones are tracking us right? Well, this Wall Street Journal article explains how and the changes to iOS 14.5 bring those activities out of the dark.

Wait, apps are tracking me?

Oh, yes, apps have been tracking you. You know how you may search for something on one website and then the ad for that product can follow you around the web? Well, instead of using web-browser tracking tools like cookies, iPhone apps tend to use a secret string of numbers on your phone. It’s called the IDFA—Identifier for Advertisers—and is used for tracking and identifying what you do in apps and across apps. (Android has something similar.)

This article goes onto explain the new options available on your iPhone that allow you to control who gets access to the IDFA. We discuss on todays episode of Today in Health IT.

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Today in health. It, the story is iPhone privacy settings.

My name is bill Russell. I’m a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in health. It a channel dedicated to keeping health it staff current. And engaged. No sponsor for today. If you want to get your message in front of a targeted healthcare audience. Send an email to [email protected]

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All right onto today’s story. We go all over the place with this show. Sometimes we talk about the business of healthcare, health tech innovation. We talk cybersecurity. Sometimes we just talk tech. Today is a tech talk. Something is happening on iOS. And if I were a CIO, I’d want to get ahead of this for the community that I serve, perhaps send them information on what to expect, be their trusted source of information on all things, technology and digital.

This is from the wall street journal.

The title of this article is iPhone apps asking to track you answers to your iOS 14.5 privacy questions. I want to read a bunch of this article, but. The net of this is that privacy used to be something that was way in the background, on your iPhone. And it was something you had to dig through and find, and for each app select it, what’s going to happen now is they’re going to bring it front and center.

You’re going to see pop-ups that say, Hey, we’re going to track you. And they are going to have to make it known to you and you’re going to have to either let them do it or not do it. Let me give you some of the article on these. Pop-ups you’ll have two options to choose from, allow or ask app not to track the idea is that instead of.

Digging through complicated settings to opt out of tracking. You don’t really see, or even are aware of. You can now opt in. If you enjoy targeted ads. Apps will now ask you before sharing the data with other apps. Or third-party advertisers or data brokers for that matter. It’s all part of Apple’s effort to present you with more privacy controls.

Wait. Apps are tracking me. Oh yes. Apps have been tracking you. I think we know this generally, you know, you hit that. Website or you hit that thing on your phone and then all of a sudden you’re in Facebook or on Google and the ads look like somebody has been listening to you and they really have been listening to you. They’ve been following you.

Through a thing called the identifier. So let me tell you how this thing works. When you’re browsing on a, on a computer, it uses cookies. iPhone apps tend to use a secret string of numbers on your phone. And it’s called the IDFA identifier for advertisers. And it is used for tracking and identifying what you do in apps and across apps. Android has something similar to this. Here’s an example of how it works and you know, this, this is what I was just talking about. You download a free ad supported meal tracking app. Then a few hours later, you start seeing ads for weight loss, or healthy eating in your Facebook feed. You also start seeing ads based on what Facebook knows about you. Maybe your interests in technology or comfy clothing, right in the food.

Tracking app what’s happened behind the scenes. Is that the food tracking app and Facebook mashed information about you using the IB F a

since most apps use this ID, the data attached to your IDFA can include everything from what apps you’ve downloaded to your phone. And what you’ve searched for in your purchase history and location for that matter and a lot more.

Crazy. Isn’t it. I think what’s going to happen is your users are gonna say, Hey, I’m seeing all these popups on my phone. And most of them aren’t going to realize . Or even be aware of the extent of all this tracking that’s going on, on their phone. So apple. Has decided to bring it front and center. And I really believe that as an it leader, it’s our responsibility to help people through this and help them to understand.

That they are being tracked on their phones and how they’re being tracked on their phones and what to do with these new messages. So let’s talk about what to do with these new messages.

What happens when I tap, ask app, not to track. When you tap this option, you’re opting out of tracking and the app is prevented from accessing your IDFA. Beyond that number, this prompt is a signal to apps that you don’t want to be tracked in any other way. Including personal information, like email address, phone number, according to apple app developers are responsible for ensuring they comply with your choices. What happens when I tap allow business as usual, same tracking, same things that have been happening all along are going to continue to happen. And they’re going to get creative on ways to get people to tap, allow for these things.

, what if I don’t want any pop-ups there’s actually a universal setting. You can go find that universal setting. And set it and then even the popups don’t come up. It’ll just say, Hey, we already know what this person wants and they do not want to be tracked or, Hey, they’re open to being tracked. Go ahead. Track away.

Why is apple doing this? Apple has long built itself as the company. With a commitment to user privacy in 2017, the company made it harder for websites to use cookies, to track people in their safari browser on iOS and Mac devices.

The article goes on, but the ethos goes farther back than that. It is a strong belief of Steve jobs and here’s the quote. Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for in plain English. The late apple co-founder said in 2010.

At an all things digital conference,

I believe some people want to share more data than other people do. Just go ahead and ask them. Apple CEO, Tim cook has continued that commitment and condemned how app tracking tools are turning to consumers into ad magnets. Let’s also not forget that apple, unlike Facebook or Google, doesn’t depend on ad revenue, but the sale of hardware and services is their source of revenue. Facebook has vocally opposed. Apple’s move, explaining that businesses rely on these personalized.

Advertising settings. You know, it’s funny. I hear that. And I sort of think that’s the craziest argument I’ve ever heard. Okay. If you rely on that business, just ask. Just ask. And I may give you access if you’re providing enough value to me. And if I feel like you’re using my information,

In a way that is congruent with my values. What’s the, so what on this? This is a significant change and people are going to be asking questions. I like to get ahead of these things for my community. I like to send out an email. If I were a C. Of an organization I’d like to be the one who’s pointing them to the wall street journal article, giving them some explanations on what they are seeing. This is a digital device that they’re using to access information on your network.

And, , the responsible people are probably going to contact you or contact your help desk. I’d also let your help desk know that this is going on. This is a device that a significant number of people in your organization are carrying. Get ahead of it.

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