App Privacy Label ExampleSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple is warning developers who are trying to skirt the new privacy rules coming in iOS 14.
  • The company is threatening to take apps off the App Store unless they comply with the new rules.

Apple is getting ahead of of developers who are trying to find ways to skirt the company's upcoming privacy protections that are set to release this spring for iOS 14.

As reported by The Financial Times (via MacRumors), a report suggested that the state-backed China Advertising Association was working on a way to avoid Apple's new requirements that required apps to get express permission before tracking them.

Apple on Thursday sent warnings to at least two Chinese app developers using methods to track app usage without user permission. "We found that your app collects user and device information to create a unique identifier for the user's device," reads Apple's email, which says that the developer must update the app to comply with App Store rules within 14 days or risk its removal from the App Store.

According to the report, the developers are attempting to use a tool called CAID to get around the requirements. The tool, which was developed by the China Advertising Association, is being tested by some of China's biggest technology companies like Baidu, ByteDance, and Tencent.

ByteDance, for example, has recommended that developers use its SDK to issue CAID1 and CAID2 identifiers. One is based on a user's IP address and the other is based on the phone's IMEI, which is a unique identification number. The CAID1 and CAID2 identifiers violate Apple's rules because they do not ask for user permission before collecting this data. ByteDance has also recommended that developers use "fingerprinting and probabilistic matching" to identify users, which is also against the App Store Guidelines for App Tracking Transparency.

While the China Advertising Association says that users can opt out of CAID, Apple will apparently not allow the tool to be used in apps at all.