Trouble Over Device Fingerprinting Brewing On The Apple App Store?

Apple Is Trying To Prevent API Fingerprinting But Not Everyone Is Interested

Apple has recently started requiring anyone developing iOS apps to justify their use APIs that can be used for device fingerprinting.  These include things like File timestamp APIs, System boot time APIs, Disk space APIs, Active keyboard APIs, and User defaults APIs.  They can be used to build a unique fingerprint of a device or user so they can be tracked across the web, handy for targeted ads and other even less savoury behaviour.  If an app does collect this information for one of Apple’s approved reasons, the data must remain on the phone and cannot be collected by the developer.

The problem is that Google, Meta and Spotify are ignoring Apple, not only do their apps do indeed use these APIs without meeting Apple’s standards, they happily collect that data for their own use.  The apps in question, such as Threads and Google Chrome are incredibly popular and it would be problematic to remove from the App Store.  As of yet, none of the companies have responded to either Apple or The Register, so it will be interesting to see if this situation escalates, or if Apple decides to ignore the behaviour.

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