Following the privacy fiasco surrounding iOS user tracking and Apple’s deprecation of the UDID, a report today says that the company is planning to release a new tool for developers that aids in tracking app users. According to The Wall Street Journal, the software tool’s “new anonymous identifier is likely to rely on a sequence of numbers that isn’t tied to a specific device.”
There has recently been a lot of concern into the way in which our iOS apps access our personal data, and then what they do with it once it has been collected. Since the whole Path debacle in particular, users seem to be more concerned by the issue than ever before.
BitDefender is one security firm looking to capitalize upon that concern with a new app called Clueful, which promises reveal what each of your apps is doing with your data and identify the “misdemeanant apps on your iPhone.”
Many of us feel a deep personal connection with our iPhones, and small wonder: the average person’s smartphone knows more about them than their spouse or significant other. Our iPhones hold our contacts, photos, videos, music, banking data, texts, emails, voicemails, web logins, apps and more. We use our phones to pay our bills, send texts to our girlfriends, check-in to our favorite club, play games with friends, and much more besides.
That makes our iOS devices a juicy target for tracking, and what most people aren’t aware of is that, historically, Apple has made it very easy to anyone to tell what you do with your iPhone. It’s called a Unique Device Identifier or UDID. Every iOS device has one, and using it, third-parties have been able to put together vast databases tracking almost everything you do with your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
The good news for privacy advocates is that the days of UDID are numbered. Following the recent stink the U.S. Congress raised over how iOS apps handle a user’s personal information without permission, Apple has given an ultimatum to third-party App Store developers: either stop tracking UDIDs or get kicked out of the App Store. Now ad networks and developers are scrambling to agree on a way to track your device in the future.
But are these replacements any good, or do they pose even bigger privacy concerns than UDIDs did?
Just six months after announcing that developers must stop accessing a device’s unique device identifier (UDID) within their iOS apps, Apple put its rule into practice last week amid increasing privacy concerns surrounding mobile apps. Any app submitted for App Store approval will soon be rejected if its attempts to access a UDID, and developers need an alternative.
That alternative could come from AppRedeem, a mobile advertising platform for app discovery, branding and monetization, which has developed a system called Organizational Specific Device Identifier, or “ODID,” already being used by Groupon.
Apple warned the iOS development community last August that it would start rejecting applications submitted to the App Store for accessing a user’s unique identifier (UDID). In case you didn’t know, every iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad possesses a unique alphanumeric string used for registration and tracking.
I was exploring some of the new features in iTunes 10.5.1 this week and I found out that iTunes offers a lot of technical information about our iOS devices. The only problem is that the information is hidden on the device summary tab and unless you know how to get to it you wouldn’t think about looking for it.