Apple: Here’s How to Opt Out of Our Targeted Ads (But Not Our Location Tracking)
Apple is rolling out its new iPhone operating system, which means that it is also rolling out its new iAd platform. Which means that Apple now has to make its users the same offer that other big digital ad players offer: You can opt-out of our ad targeting program, if you’re willing to do a little work.
Actually, you don’t have to do that–iLounge already highlighted it for us:
So that’s pretty much the same tack that Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO) and other big Web ad players (not Facebook, though) have taken to ad targeting and privacy: If you don’t want to see targeted ads, you don’t have to see targeted ads. But you’re still going to see ads. And figuring out how to opt out of targeting will take a little bit of doing (here are the opt-out pages for Google and Yahoo, which they describe as ad “managers”).
Note that this deals only with Apple’s homegrown ad network, not third-party outfits like Medialets or Millenial Media. Then again, Apple isn’t giving the biggest mobile ad network, Google’s AdMob, access to targeting data at all.
Whether or not that creeps you out likely depends on your attitude toward services like Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter: If you spend your time broadcasting your status to the world, it’s hard to get riled up about Apple keeping tabs on you, too.
But if you’re a private soul, Apple offers this promise: “This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services.”
Feel better? Okay, how about this–Steve Jobs at D8, promising to protect users’ privacy:
We’ve always had a very different view of privacy than some of our colleagues in the Valley. We take privacy extremely seriously. That’s one of the reasons we have the curated apps store. We have rejected a lot of apps that want to take a lot of your personal data and suck it up into the cloud.
Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for. In plain English, and repeatedly, that’s what it means. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data.
That’s a pretty straightforward, simple proposition, much more so than Apple’s confusing legalese. If Apple really wants to appease privacy worriers, the company ought to update its policy with words that sound like the ones Jobs spoke earlier this month.