Google Makes Genuine Privacy Move by Scrapping Ad IDs for Users Who Opt Out of Targeted Ads

Google is finally making a genuine commitment to privacy by cutting off Android app developers’ access to the unique Advertising IDs of users who opt out of receiving personalized ads. 

This change pretty much matches Apple’s new ATT which allows users to say no to cross-app tracking by iOS apps for personalized ad purposes. 

When the changes are rolled out later this year, Google will completely cut off app developers’ access to the Google Advertising IDs (AAIDs), instead showing a string of zeroes, for those users who opt out of cross-app tracking. The AAIDs are like Apple’s IDFAs, which uniquely identify a user’s device and companies use to track users everywhere they go online to customize ads to their interests and searches. 

The Google change also means app developers won’t be able to use the AAIDs for non-tracking purposes either, such as fraud detection and analytics. Google promises a different solution for these areas in July this year.Google says Android app developers will still be able to use a persistent or proprietary identifier (no external linkability) but will need to make clear any data collection linked to this in their app privacy policies. They’ll also have to handle the data under the terms of Google’s Developer Distribution Agreement, as well as all relevant privacy laws.

This is the second big announcement from Google recently, but this one does more for user privacy than the new safety section in Google Play which came in response to Apple’s privacy labels

This time Google is keeping up with Apple’s new ATT but its move on cross-app tracking differs from the ATT in a couple ways. First, users won’t see an in-app opt-in prompt and won’t be able to adjust each app’s access to their IDFA. Instead, Android users will have the blanket option of opting out of all tracking for all apps. It’s worth reiterating that Google is asking users to opt out of tracking rather than to opt in like Apple, which some commentators say might be to protect the tech giant from further antitrust backlash.

Google says it will start phasing in this latest change in late 2021. The change will initially affect apps running on Android 12 devices and move to other apps running on devices that support Google Play in early 2022. 

As we know, consumers are increasingly rejecting personalized advertising over privacy concerns. Apple’s new ATT got very low opt-in rates for cross-app tracking—a loud message from consumers globally. Let’s see what users think of Google’s latest move.  Like Apple’s ATT, Google’s move on AAIDs is a good move for data privacy, but it doesn’t stop tracking within a single app. It’s only for cross-app tracking. You still need MySudo to keep your personal data compartmentalized and protected across different services.

Photo By K.unshu