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Apple to Limit Third-Party Tracking in Kids Apps

In a report covering apps that are tracking kids and sending data to companies like Facebook and Google, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern says that Apple is planning to limit third-party tracking in apps that are in the Kids section of the App Store.

The site says that a "person familiar with the matter" shared the info on the upcoming feature, though Apple declined to comment.

In fact, Apple will limit third-party tracking in apps in the Kids category of the App Store, according to a person familiar with the matter. Apple declined to comment on this, but a spokeswoman provided a statement:

"For privacy and security reasons, Apple does not see what data users choose to share with developers and we can't see what developers do on their servers."
In the piece, Stern mentions an iOS app for kids called Curious World that she found was tracking her son, collecting data that included age, name, and books he tapped on, with that data then sent to Facebook.

She went on to test over 80 apps, many promoted by Apple, and all of them except for one included third-party trackers for marketing, ads, or analytics purposes.

Apps tested (which weren't kids apps specifically) included an average of four third-party trackers, and some had many more. The app her son was using had a total of seven trackers in it.

There are no controls in iOS for limiting the tracking features that are used by apps for everything from ad targeting to analytics, though users can download VPN apps that block these services. Stern suggests that Apple and Google should cut down on the amount of data that third-party trackers are able to collect and require app developers to provide clearer disclosures.



Top Rated Comments

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2 weeks ago
Hey Apple, HOW ABOUT EVERYONE, not just kids.

-Sincerely,
Everyone
Rating: 39 Votes
2 weeks ago
Why is 3rd party tracking allowed anyway?
Rating: 17 Votes
2 weeks ago

Why is 3rd party tracking allowed anyway?


Apple should make it so we could say no to 3rd party tracking on any app - starting at install.
Rating: 13 Votes
2 weeks ago
LIMIT the tracking of kids' apps? Er, that should be ELIMINATE. No kid's activities should EVER be tracked. And it should be construed as the "stalking of a minor" when it does occur.
Rating: 11 Votes
2 weeks ago
Why was this allowed in the first place? Apple's touting the app store as a curated/safe place to get your apps and the reason why it should be the only place to get your apps. It also uses this as the defense for the 30% cut they take.

I think more people think the app store is curated than it really is. I read this and think "Apple already sold me on privacy, why are these apps already in the store and on my kids devices?"
Rating: 10 Votes
2 weeks ago
Shouldn't be there to begin with.
Rating: 6 Votes
2 weeks ago
This is great news! Tracking kids is just wrong, really really wrong. If app developers have something they need to know, it should be up to their parents if they wish to share it. Kids didn’t sign up for this **** show we have all allowed to happen.
Rating: 6 Votes
2 weeks ago

Without it nothing would be free for us to use that’s the reality of life

I’d be happy to pay for my apps and services if it means avoiding crap like this, especially for children and especially to escape the evil tentacles of FB.

If I have to carefully budget and trim down the number of apps used, so be it. It makes my blood boil that data on my kid using an app that doesn’t look remotely related to FB is in fact sent to FB. Facebook have proven repeatedly they can’t be trusted with our data at all. They should not have this much access to it among people who aren’t using or knowingly plugged into Facebook.
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Apple should make it so we could say no to 3rd party tracking on any app - starting at install.

If they would do that, I would ditch my Android phones. It would finally be worth it. But for now I don’t bother because I’m aware stuff like this happens and my privacy isn’t fully secure no matter what Apple advertises.
Rating: 5 Votes
2 weeks ago

Why is 3rd party tracking allowed anyway?


Simple. You don't like to pay for apps or pay anything that actually covers the cost of the app so ads and tracking services have to be put into apps to make money because apps actually cost a lot of money to make and keep running. Even though most don't think they do, developers do deserve to make a living.
Rating: 4 Votes
2 weeks ago
THIS is why everyone wants you to use their app instead of a web based interface — to track the bejeezus out of you. I think  has done the public a huge disservice yammering incessantly about privacy & security when they were the ones that enabled the scumbags to do these shenanigans in the first place.
 gets an "F". Or if I'm feeling generous, a "D-"

And this article is about kids. I guess tracking the bejeezus out of adults it still fine. I change my grade back to an "F".
Rating: 4 Votes

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