Google is taking a step further with user's privacy as it will make it difficult for developers and advertisers to track users once they have opted out starting later this year. Once users have opted out of personalised ads, the developers will lose access to advertising IDs and will see a string of zeroes instead. The development will start rolling out to Android users in late 2021.
Google in an email to Play Store developers notified about the development. Google has also updated its support page for advertising IDs. Financial Times quoted Google's email to employees which say that the "changes will provide users with more control over their data, and help bolster security and privacy."
Google has also updated its support page noting, "Starting in late 2021, when a user opts out of interest-based advertising or ads personalization, the advertising identifier will not be available. You will receive a string of zeros in place of the identifier."
Google explains that advertising ID is a unique, user-resettable ID for advertising, provided by Google Play services. It further notes that it gives users the option to opt-out of personalised ads and to provide developers with a simple, standard system to continue to monetise their apps.
Google said the Play services rollout will affect apps running on Android 12 devices starting in late 2021 and migrate to other devices with Google Play in early 2022.
Earlier this year, Google announced a slew of security features at its I/O developer conference including the Privacy dashboard. Android 12's Privacy Dashboard intends to inform users about the data collected by any app which runs in the background. It will also give users insight on when their device's tools -- the camera, mic, and location were accessed and for how long.
The development from Google comes after Apple started rolling out iOS 14.5 which requires developers and advertisers to take users' consent before apps can track them. Unlike Apple's feature, Google users will not be opted out of ad tracking by default. Apple says that app developers will have to mention any form of tracking done by their app on the App Store Privacy Information section of the product page. They will also have to specify the reason for the tracking function and the purpose for which the data will be used. The app will then be reviewed and be allowed to perform the function only post permission by AppTrackingTransparency. The new rules by Apple restrict data collection by apps overall user activities performed on an iPhone.
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