iAd Privacy Policy

With the ongoing controversy over data collection by Ad networks it is interesting to the see the approach that Apple has taken today with the roll out of iOS4. If you attempt to update your Apps via iTunes you are presented with a page indicating that Apple has changed its privacy policy along with the usual endless terms and conditions that you have to accept before continuing:

I doubt many iTunes users will actually read the revised agreement but it is worth taking a look at Apple’s online privacy policy page. The key section is on Cookies and describes how a user can opt out of data collection in support of iAds:

If you do not want to receive ads with this level of relevance on your mobile device, you can opt out by accessing the following link on your device: http://oo.apple.com. If you opt out, you will continue to receive the same number of mobile ads, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on your interests.

It is worth noting that the opt out is only to restrict the use of personal data being used by the iAd service. A user cannot completely opt-out and avoid ever seeing an in-app Ad - they just will not see personalised Ads. I would have thought it would have been better to make this an option within iTunes on the page showing the attached device but maybe that would have encouraged too many users to opt out? On the other hand the URL is very easy to remember and type into Safari on the device if a user changes their mind later.

One other update on this topic. Flurry Analytics has, as expected, released a new version of their SDK in the last week that they hope complies with Apple’s new policy by no longer collecting the device name, OS version and firmware version. Developers and I guess Flurry themselves will be waiting anxiously to see if Apps submitted with this new SDK are allowed into the App Store by Apple…