Apple faces a third class action lawsuit over transparency issues in app tracking

Apple has a habit of finding itself in the middle of a few controversies here and there. Well, with great success comes great responsibility, and trouble is more than likely. Apple’s battle with Spotify for the The App Store monopoly was in the headlines yesterday and now, there’s a new class action lawsuit looming over Cupertino’s head, as reported by Apple Insider.

There is a new class action lawsuit facing Apple (the third so far)

The class action lawsuit alleges that Apple has been collecting user data even when App Tracking Transparency was turned off. Apparently, the researchers had done some testing indicating that turning off App Tracking Transparency did not affect analytics data from Apple apps (App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, and others). The collected data is allegedly transmitted with a permanent identification number linked to iCloud accounts, although Apple promises that the information cannot identify a user. Well that seems to be an unsatisfactory answer to some people. Now, a third class action lawsuit looms over Apple’s head. Paul Whalen is the lawyer who filed the lawsuit against Apple in New York (via Gizmodo). The lawsuit asks for $5 million in damages.

App Tracking Transparency was introduced with iOS 14.5 in April 2021

App Tracking Transparency was introduced in April 2021, with the iOS 14.5 update. Basically, it allows the user to request that an app not track their activity on other websites and apps. Before then, apps did that so they could present you with targeted ads, based on things you’re interested in or looking for.

In the few months since it went live, many iOS users opted out of tracking and decided they didn’t want to see targeted ads. Consequently, it was found that social media apps lost around $9.85 billion in revenue in October of the same year alone. Pretty drastic, one might add.

Social media apps like Meta and Snap were quite dissatisfied with App Tracking Transparency and for a reason: the setting made it difficult for them to display targeted ads to iOS users and thus caused some (rather major) problems. disturbances in the flow of income.

But it seems that not only social networking apps had some problems with ATT. In November 2022, a The lawsuit was filed by plaintiff Elliot Libman. The lawsuit alleged that the investigation has shown that Apple was monetizing analytics data such as browsing history and activity information, regardless of the security measures consumers take. The plaintiff’s main concerns were the “Allow apps to request to track” and “Share analytics” settings.

A second lawsuit was filed January 6 in the US The plaintiff in this case is Joaquín Serrano, and the lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The allegations were similar to the first lawsuit: alleged violation of consumer privacy.

Where do all these demands come from?

In November of last year, iOS developers Mysk posted some Apple Analytics findings on Twitter. According to them, an ID in Apple’s analytics data that was named a “dsId” and later listed as a “Directory Services Identifier” was linked to an iCloud account.

Mysk claims to have identified another ID, called a “DSID”, which is used to identify Apple ID accounts and is reportedly associated with your name, email, and data in your iCloud. And, Mysk also claims the DSID and the dsId that the App Store sends to Apple ended up being the same ID.

In general, this identifier is included in all analytics data that the App Store sends to Apple. However, with iOS 16, the data was not scanned because it was encrypted, but the behavior reportedly persists.

So far it is not clear what will happen to these lawsuits and what results they will bring.

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