Apple has insisted that it will be applying its App Tracking Transparency globally following reports that developers in China are trying to find workarounds to the feature. A report this week suggested Apple was turning a blind eye to the efforts.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Apple said that:
“The App Store terms and guidelines apply equally to all developers around the world, including Apple. We believe strongly that users should be asked for their permission before being tracked. Apps that are found to disregard the user’s choice will be rejected.”
The new App Tracking Transparency feature is set to debut with iOS 14.5. It was originally scheduled to launch with iOS 14 last fall, but Apple has pushed it back to allow developers to prepare. It has also received pushback from companies like Facebook.
According to a report this week, Chinese companies including Baidu, ByteDance, and Tencent are all readying workarounds. They have supposedly developed a system called CAID, created by the China Advertising Association and a government think tank. Other reports of possible workarounds for the system have focused on a method called fingerprinting, which could also be used to continue tracking users.
It’s not clear whether Apple has solutions that can stop both of these approaches. But, at least based on its public words, it’s apparent that it wants the rules to apply to everyone. Whether it will be able to ensure that is another question altogether.