According to a report by TechCrunch, two of Apple’s ten review teams have now begun rejecting apps that access unique device identifiers (UDIDs). This number is expected to reach the full ten teams with another two joining in the new strategy next week. After Apple has received recent pressure from Congress over consumer privacy issues, the company has adopted this new strategy that began earlier this week to solve the problem. These changes have led to developers attempting to find new ways to keep track of their customers.
Chief executive officer of Fluik Victor Rubba said the following:
“Everyone’s scrambling to get something into place… We’re trying to be proactive and we’ve already moved to an alternative scheme.”
The UDID itself is a unique alphanumeric code that each and every Apple device has tied to it that allows developers of apps to track customers. Specifically, it’s currently used in game networks, ad networks, and analytic providers. Mobile ad networks are expected to take the biggest hit with the implementation of this new strategy as UDIDs previously had allowed them to keep note of the habits of consumers’ from app to app.
Playhaven CEO Andy Yang also added:
“This is definitely happening. In the next month or two, this is going to have an impact on all ad networks and apps using advertising. Everybody’s trying to make their own choices about what to use instead.”
Alternate methods exist, such as Wi-Fi MAC addresses or the solutions like the new OpenUDID scheme being developed by Appsfire, who are hopeful developers will adopt their solution. Some developers are able to slip through Apple’s new review process by asking consumers if their UDIDs can be tracked by the developers.
Analysis: Although some developers have decided to continue using the UDID system and only ask consumers if they were comfortable with their numbers being tracked doesn’t seem like a viable option, I would believe that the negative connotation that comes with the word “tracking” would result in very few consumers opting in.
Honestly, UDIDs aren’t particularly dangerous as far as privacy is concerned. Simply put, the main problem with UDIDs is that users are not made aware of it, and unlike cookies, there’s no way to prevent it from happening. With agencies now having to build their own alternatives, I could see it causing a fairly large amount of confusion in the market. Personally, I would have to think that it would be best if Apple just stepped in and created their own system that other developers use. It would make regulating it a much easier and simpler process, and it won’t lead to dozens of alternatives being on the market that simply don’t have to be created.