Apple Calls Season Opener on IP Address Tracking and Targeting – AdExchanger

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Last year it was the IDFA. This year, it’s the IP address.

Apple will begin redirecting web traffic through two separate servers in order to mask a user’s IP address, the company announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

The feature, called Private Relay, will act as a sort of VPN, although VPNs typically only redirect traffic through a single hop. And, despite blocking ISPs from seeing a user’s traffic, VPNs can still access browsing data themselves. (It’s a common misconception that VPNs inherently protect privacy, while all they do is hide your identity from others.)

Private Relay will be part of a new service called iCloud Plus and will likely be available this fall. Although it seems that for now the feature only applies to the web and a small percentage of application traffic (specifically, unencrypted HTTP application traffic), there is no reason why that it can’t possibly be rolled out to apps as well – and that could be a way to reduce fingerprinting, a prohibited method of identification against which Apple has yet to start a serious enforcement on iOS .

Although IP addresses are not the only ingredient used in fingerprinting, they are one of the key signals.

Apple says the private relay feature will ensure that all outgoing traffic from any of its devices is encrypted so that no one can read or intercept it.

“It’s designed so that no one, including Apple, can see both who you are and what sites you visit,” said Mike Abbott, vice president of Apple Cloud Services.

The news comes a year after Apple shook up the mobile privacy landscape at its last WWDC, when it announced plans for the AppTrackingTransparency framework and kicked off a protracted showdown with numerous mobile apps and advertising companies.

Private Relay, along with a handful of other privacy-related announcements, demonstrate that Apple’s focus on this issue will likely continue in the future.

A few other things

In addition to Private Rely, Apple also has new on-deck privacy system controls that will hide a user’s IP address from third-party trackers in Safari and on the Mail app.

With Mail Privacy Protection, a person’s IP address will be hidden so that email senders cannot connect the account to other online activities or someone’s location. Senders will also be blocked from seeing if the recipient has opened an email.

Apple will also mask the IP address on Safari, which already blocks third-party cookies by default with Intelligent Tracking Prevention.

And then there’s a new feature called Safari Privacy Report, through which people will be able to see which trackers are blocked from profiling them.

Not to be outdone, apps will also get their own privacy report called, naturally, the App Privacy Report which provides insight into how apps “treat your privacy,” said Katie Skinner, head of privacy engineering at Apple.

The report, which will be accessible in Settings on devices running iOS 15, will show how often apps used the permissions granted to them to access location, photos, camera, microphone, and apps. someone’s contacts in the last seven days. like what data is shared and any third-party domains an application contacts.

And here’s a potentially not-so-sweet treat for the Unified ID 2.0 initiative and any email-based identity solution.

Apple plans to roll out a default feature for Mail, Safari, and iCloud called Hide My Mail that lets users create unique random email addresses that go to their personal inbox.

Users can configure as many email addresses as they want and delete them at any time.

It’s a burn…as in the burner’s email address.

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