Chinese Ad Tech Test Apple Privacy Workaround

There are too many dollars at risk for the ad industry to let Apple dictate their future.

Some big tech companies in China are apparently taking that old adage “rules are meant to be broken” to heart. According to the Financial Times, ByteDance and Tencent are testing a tool to bypass Apple’s new privacy rules and continue tracking iPhone users, without their consent, in an effort to continue serving targeted mobile advertisements. According to the FT, the state-backed China Advertising Association has launched a new way to track and identify iPhone users called CAID. ByteDance, the owner of the social video app TikTok, referred to CAID in an 11-page guide to app developers, suggesting advertisers “can use the CAID as a substitute if the user’s IDFA is unavailable.” Several efforts are under way to get around Apple’s rules, but CAID is the biggest challenge yet. Apple declined to comment, but threw some generalized shade. “The App Store terms and guidelines apply equally to all developers around the world, including Apple,” it said. “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.”

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