Ron Amadeo: ‘Android’s Toothless “Privacy Sandbox” Fails to Answer iOS Tracking Limits’

Ron Amadeo, writing at Ars Technica:

So while Google did not announce anything that will improve privacy today, it did hint at someday making a change. The blog post says, “we plan to support existing ads platform features for at least two years, and we intend to provide substantial notice ahead of any future changes.” Those “future changes” could theoretically improve privacy, but again, there is no commitment to do that. If anything, today’s blog post is a reassuring statement to advertisers that, while Apple blew up the mobile ad industry in 2021, Google is publicly committing to keep the cash flowing until at least 2024. [...]

Since Google is not making any privacy changes mandatory, it is basically asking advertising companies to voluntarily stop collecting data on users. If advertisers wanted to do that, they could make that change today. Advertisers don’t actually need to wait for a technical solution to be finished.

Again, we already know how the surveillance ad industry feels about voluntarily not tracking users.

If this “Android Privacy Sandbox” winds up as toothless as it sounds today, it’s just Google trying to look like they’re pro-privacy, not actually taking action to make Android more private for users.

Update: My takeaway is that Google is presenting this “Android Privacy Sandbox” — including just by giving it a name — as though they have announced a comprehensive plan to give Android users iOS-like (or better!) control over their own privacy from cross-application surveillance ad tech. But in fact all they’ve announced is a plan to create a plan.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022