It looks like mobile game developers have found a way to bypass Apple’s privacy rules and identify users even if they have said no to tracking their data. They are still collecting information that could be used for fingerprinting.
Analyst Eric Seufert share a link to an investigation by the Washington Post and privacy software maker Lockdown.
According to the report, at least three games – Subway surfers, The life of a streamer!, and Run rich 3D – send specific information to the Chartboost advertising network on a mobile device. The list includes battery level, internet address, free storage, display settings, time zone, currency, country, and last reboot time.
It helps advertisers identify users who have requested not to collect their data and show them targeted advertisements. The investigation found that saying no to tracking doesn’t make any difference, making Apple’s application tracking transparency framework almost pointless.
“Worse, giving users the option to press a ‘Ask app not to follow’ button can even give users a false sense of privacy,” said Johnny Lin, former iCloud engineer and co-founder of Lockdown.
This data can also be used for fingerprinting, which uses the technical information of a mobile device to create a profile of its user. However, Seufert pointed out that fingerprints could be “very effective in finding a click to assign – but not necessarily the right click to assign”.
Subway surfers Developer Sybo said it only collects data that is necessary for the game to run smoothly. The company, on the other hand, has not specified why it is sending so much personal information.