If you’re an Android user, you may have felt a pang of envy when Apple announced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature in iOS 14.5. ATT allows iPhone users to opt out of being monitored by third-party apps and websites in order to receive tailored online advertisements right away. The great majority of iPhone users continue to opt out of tracking, according to Meta (previously Facebook), costing the business $10 billion in advertising income this year.
Google unveiled its own strategy to restrict monitoring on Android a few days ago with the Privacy Sandbox. However, Google warns that it will take two or more years before it is ready. The corporation will need to meet with publishers, developers, advertisers, competitors, and others to develop criteria that are fair while yet allowing Google to run its advertising business.
Unlike Apple, Google is adopting a more gradual approach to limiting monitoring on Android
Google claims that its slower method is required in comparison to Apple’s ATT. According to Anthony Chavez, vice president of product management for Android security and privacy, “simply removing the existing technologies that the ecosystem uses today without having an effective and privacy-enhancing and alternative path for ecosystem support can be ineffective and may result in worse outcomes for user privacy.” It will take time to research and construct such a platform.
We must keep in mind one extremely essential point that many people may not be aware of. Stopping or limiting tracking does not imply that you will no longer get advertisements. It simply implies that advertisements delivered to smartphone users will not be tailored or based on the user’s app and website history. Companies such as Meta devised solutions, however providing less relevant advertisements results in fewer clicks from uninterested users, resulting in lesser income for firms such as Meta.
Instead than waiting two years, Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal has identified three things you can do right now to prevent tracking on Android (more on that later). Google claims that its Privacy Sandbox will eliminate the usage of advertising ID by Google. This is a one-of-a-kind ID that mobile devices obtain and that advertisers use to offer personalised adverts.
Your advertising ID collects data such as your search history, purchase history, current locations, and other information that can be used to determine what you are interested in. Google has stated that identifiers such as advertising ID will not be utilised with the Privacy Sandbox, but it is also stated that it is too early to discuss what will be used in their stead.
Users of Android 12 can erase their advertising ID right now
As Ms. Stern points out, Android will eventually figure out what you’re interested in by evaluating the apps you use. Assume you enjoy baseball and have multiple baseball-related apps installed on your Android phone. Apps and advertisers might then select whether to offer baseball adverts on devices where baseball is a popular interest. These preferences would be saved solely on the device, and users would be able to go through them and update them.
But here’s the catch. You do not have to wait two years for advertising ID to disappear. You have the ability to do so right now. If you have an Android 12 phone, go to Settings > Privacy > Ads > Delete advertising ID. If you don’t have a device running Android 12, you’ll have to wait. Google will begin rolling out this feature in April for phones running Android 5 or later.
Meanwhile, individuals who do not have Android 12 can locate a setting that says “Opt out of Ads Personalization.” This will not remove the numbers and letters used for advertising ID, but it will notify apps not to use them.