A group of the digital advertising associations from Europe on Friday criticized Apple Inc's plans to require apps for seeking additional permission from the users before tracking them across other websites and apps.

Apple last week revealed features in its forthcoming operating system for the iPhones and also the iPads, which is going to need apps to show a pop-up screen before they allow a form of tracking commonly required to show personalized ads.

Sixteen marketing associations, some of which are backed by Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google, faulted Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user consent under European privacy rules. Apps will now need to ask for permission twice, increasing the risk users will refuse, the associations argued.

Google-Backed Groups Not Happy With Apple

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China on July 30, 2017.
Reuters

Facebook and Google are the largest among thousands of companies that track online consumers to pick up on their habits and interests and serve them relevant ads. Apple said the new feature was aimed at giving users greater transparency over how their information is being used. In training sessions at a developer conference last week, Apple showed that developers can present any number of additional screens beforehand to explain why permission is needed before triggering its pop-up.

The pop-up says an app "would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies" and gives the app developer several lines below the main text to explain why the permission is sought. It is not required until an app seeks access to a numeric identifier that can be used for tracking, and apps only need to secure permission once. The group of European marketing firms said the pop-up warning and the limited ability to customize it still carries "a high risk of user refusal."

Apple engineers also said last week the company will bolster a free Apple-made tool that uses anonymous, aggregated data to measure whether advertising campaigns are working and that will not trigger the pop-up. "Because it's engineered to not track users, there's no need to request permission to track," Brandon Van Ryswyk, an Apple privacy engineer, said in a video session explaining the measurement tool to developers.

(With agency inputs)