Backtracking Apple allows ad tracking | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Backtracking Apple allows ad tracking

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So you have your new iPhone 5 and you love it; good for you! The first time you access iTunes you'll need to provide a payment gateway of some kind. Unlike with Android-based devices, you'll need to give Apple financial access in order to be able to get to the free stuff. My advice, especially if you have children, is to use a debit card with a low ceiling on spending, or something similar, so that when your children use your phone and inadvertently start paying for stuff, your liability will be kept within acceptable limits. 

The second thing you'll want to do is turn off IDFA. You may remember that Apple put its foot down as far advertiser tracking was concerned and that iPhone users were protected up until September. With iOS 6 that changed. The new OS turned on tracking again and this has made the advertising executives very happy. So IDFA or IFA (identifier for advertisers) is a random number assigned to you and your new iPhone. This number is passed to advertisers from the site you are visiting to allow ad targeting. If, for example, you visit a number of financing sites then you will get financing ads. Your app downloads are also tracked. This function is turned on by default and was not advertised by Apple in the marketing lead-up to the latest release. The turn-it-off option is hidden under General, About, Advertising and not under Privacy. Just to make it that little bit harder, the item is labelled ''limit ad tracking'' and must be set to ''on'' to turn tracking off! In other words, Apple has made it as difficult as possible and most users will either never find it or won't even bother looking. On the plus side, theoretically your individual details are not tracked _ theoretically.

The well-known torrent site Pirate Bay went down recently, for a total of five minutes. No, it wasn't some kind of government attack; it was caused by the switch from a server-based service into the Cloud. For those unclear on the concept, a torrent is a small file that contains a list of trackers that ultimately connects millions of computers together to allow the sharing of files, of any type. This technology can be used to download a large file as efficiently as possible and, for some, provides the fastest download times possible across an internet connection. It is also the most common way to pass along copyrighted materials and so has been the target of many an organisation and government.

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