Apple's next move on privacy

Posted by on May 29, 2021 · 2 mins read

Apple recently stopped directly sending SKAdNetwork postbacks from end user devices to Ad Networks. In order to block individual device IP addresses from getting exposed to the registered Ad Networks they now route all SK postbacks through an internal Apple server to prevent any use of the IP address in creating a fingerprint. This move is a bigger hint than most people realize; Apple stated long ago that they do not want to have any fingerprinting take place using the IP address, and blocking IP addresses is one of the current flaws within their implementation of SKAdNetwork.

In the next couple of weeks (perhaps even during WWDC) they will likely announce some type of intent to block IP addresses even further. I’d imagine this might come through some kind of VPN. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple charge for the service (or bundle it with other services) and market it to users as privacy safe. Going back to a previous post we need to again ask ourselves if the word “privacy” is starting to get weaponized so companies can control the narrative and the profit that comes along with it.

I personally think having a VPN is great for my privacy, and would likely even pay for it if my services were not degraded, but on the other end of the spectrum it’s very likely that Apple is harming businesses in their marketing departments and controlling how iOS apps get distributed.

[Update 6/14/2021] As of WWDC - it seems like Apple created their own version of a VPN through Private Relay, an add-on to iCloud+ that will allow devices to block IP addresses from Safari usage (and potentially apps). This is basically what I was guessing in this post above coming true.