China Working on Tool to Bypass iOS 14’s App Tracking Transparency Changes

The China Advertising Association (CAA) is working on a new feature that would let app developers bypass iOS 14’s App Tracking Transparency changes. The association has over 2,000 members.

Backed by the Chinese government, the association could allow developers and marketing companies to track users without their consent. The new tracking method is reportedly called CAID, and tech companies like ByteDance are currently testing it. The Chinese company has already provided its developers with an 11-page guide and suggested them to use CAID as a substitute for IDFA.

CAID is being developed primarily for use by Chinese developers, though one French gaming company has applied for permission to use it. Many international advertising companies have also applied for the said license.

When contacted by Financial Times, the CAA told that its tool does not oppose Apple’s privacy policy. It is also constantly in touch with Apple over the tool. Apple has not yet made any formal comments on CAID, but it did say that the App Store guidelines apply equally to all developers across the world.

“The App Store terms and guidelines apply equally to all developers around the world, including Apple,” the company told FT. “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.”

Apple reportedly has the ability to detect which apps use CAID and could block them from the Chinese App Store. However, doing so could have major implications and could worsen Apple’s relationship with the Chinese government and other Chinese tech giants. The company cannot possibly go ahead and block every app that’s using CAID as it would eventually just lead to the Chinese government kicking Apple out of the country.

Some analysts believe that Apple could make CAID an exception for China. CAID is reportedly due to launch to the public later this week.

Facebook has heavily criticized Apple for iOS 14’s anti-tracking changes. The social media giant had released full-page newspaper ads criticizing the changes and even claimed that it would be disastrous for small companies.

Financial Times

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