Apple recently made a strict rule set with regards to customer privacy, allegedly rejecting apps that access unique device identifier or UDID. It is a 40-character alphanumeric serial number that mobile network uses to identify mobile devices. Advertisers, Analytics Company and app testing systems are using this technology to track users because it’s not replicated on any other device.
Apple: Deprecating UDID Access
TechCrunch reported last March 23 that Apple has been silently rejecting app submissions to ultimately deprecate all UDID access. In August of last year, the company warned app developers that they will be removing UDID access on iOS 5. This effectively ends the user tracking across operating systems, and suggests programmers to create a proprietary opt-in identification system and app-specific tracking mechanism.
Apparently, Apple’s more stringent rule set was made in response to increasing concern over privacy issues from Congress and the public. It should be recalled that two US congressmen sent letters to Apple and 33 developers, asking their user information collecting practices.
According to PlayHaven’s CEO of App Marketing and Monetization Platform Andy Yang, Apple denied a number of app submissions during its last week’s review cycle.
“This is definitely happening. In the next month or two, this is going to have an impact on all ad networks and apps using advertising. Everybody’s trying to make their own choices about what to use instead.”
In Search for Alternatives
Advertisers that are using UDID to track specific audiences are yet to decide on a comparable alternative. However, there are some that are still experimenting with MAC addresses and OpenUDID. As stated by Victor Rubba, CEO of Canada-based company Fluik:
“Everyone’s scrambling to get something into place. We’re trying to be proactive and we’ve already moved to an alternative scheme.”
The Cupertino-based company is said to have two teams rejecting UDID-accessing app. In the coming weeks, all its ten teams are expected to follow suit.
It was in April of last year that media inquiry of information gathering systems on iDevices made a buzz. It was revealed that Apple’s iOS 4 regularly logged location details from iPhone and iPads. Later in February 2012, it was reported that the PATH social networking app was uploading users’ address book data to its servers without asking permission. In turn, Apple promised to update their mobile operating system to require apps to ask user permission first before accessing certain data sets.
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