Mozilla Launches Petition Urging Apple to Reset Interest-Based Ad Identifiers on Monthly Basis

Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, today launched a petition urging Apple to reset the unique IDs used to serve interest-based ads in the App Store and Apple News apps on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV on a monthly basis.

Mozilla takes aim at Apple's recent iPhone privacy ad in a blog post:
Apple's latest marketing campaign — "Privacy. That's ‌iPhone‌" — made us raise our eyebrows.

It's true that Apple has an impressive track record of protecting users' privacy, from end-to-end encryption on iMessage to anti-tracking in Safari.

But a key feature in iPhones has us worried, and makes their latest slogan ring a bit hollow.

Each ‌iPhone‌ that Apple sells comes with a unique ID (called an "identifier for advertisers" or IDFA), which lets advertisers track the actions users take when they use apps. It's like a salesperson following you from store to store while you shop and recording each thing you look at. Not very private at all.
These identifiers can already be manually reset under Settings > Privacy > Advertising on iOS devices and under Settings > General > Privacy on ‌Apple TV‌, but Mozilla is asking for "a real cap" with an automatic monthly reset to make it "harder for companies to build a profile about you over time."

"If Apple makes this change, it won't just improve the privacy of iPhones — it will send Silicon Valley the message that users want companies to safeguard their privacy by default," wrote Ashley Boyd, Mozilla's VP of Advocacy.

Interest-based ads in the ‌App Store‌ and ‌Apple News‌ app are based on information such as your ‌App Store‌ search history and ‌Apple News‌ reading history. Apple makes it easy to opt out, but Mozilla argues that "most people don't know that feature even exists, let alone that they should turn it off."

We'll provide an update if Apple responds.

Top Rated Comments

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10 months ago
Even better, a setting to reset it hourly, daily, etc
Rating: 47 Votes
10 months ago
They do have a point.
Rating: 40 Votes
10 months ago
You know, they’re right. And I didn’t even know you could reset that manually. I’ll do that now.
Rating: 40 Votes
10 months ago

No one really cares. I really don't see why some people get so offended over advertising. Advertising is how many companies get sales, to produce more products, for you to continue to consume.

I didn't know Big Marketing had an account here. Welcome!
Rating: 29 Votes
10 months ago
A way to automate this would be welcome, it is a but of a fuss doing it manually
Rating: 18 Votes
10 months ago

How are companies supposed to survive without advertising when consumers want everything for free?

First off, we would still SEE the ads. That's how they 'survive': We see their ads, we maybe buy from them.

The issue is whether after viewing the ads, can they then track us indefinitely. I'm glad this story popped up because frankly I was completely unaware until now that I could reset my advertising identifier on my own. So thank you Mozilla!
Rating: 13 Votes
10 months ago
No one really cares. I really don't see why some people get so offended over advertising. Advertising is how many companies get sales, to produce more products, for you to continue to consume.
Rating: 10 Votes
10 months ago
Its funny to me how many people don't understand that a lot of the "Free" stuff they get is because they are being advertised to. Everyone is going to be in a for a tough day when things paid for by advertising go away.

If the ad's are less effective... then the companies can't charge as much for them.

People don't want to pay for Google, or Gmail, or Facebook, or news, or a million other things.

People don't want to be advertised to....

People don't want to pay...

People don't want to be advertised to...

People don't want to pay...

It's a vicious circle. Glad I don't work at these places to have to figure it out.
Rating: 9 Votes
10 months ago

I am aware of some companies that do not advertise or sell your day and offer a free and paid product. The free versions are very limited in use, however do not compromise the core function of the product or service. The hope is that the free users will upgrade for more functionality when their requirements necessitate. To some degree it is not impossible to acknowledge that some paid users are subsidizing the free accounts.

I am in both camps depending on the product or service, I give and take :D

I wonder how Facebook and Instagram and survive if you had to pay a monthly or annual fee to use them. Same for People complain about advertising but it’s advertising that pays the bills when people want something for nothing.
Rating: 8 Votes
10 months ago

Being tracked doesn't bother me a whit. I like getting targeted advertising. Sorry to tell you guys worried about privacy -- but it's a losing cause that you will inevitably lose. Get used to the new reality.

Can you send me your location please? I would like to advertise you some new products at your door. Hopefully you get used to that as well.
Rating: 6 Votes

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