Apple iAd Rules ... Just say Yes

Jobs-iAd-Small.jpgApple's recent change to its developer rules requiring their approval to collect and send device data to third parties for aggregation, analytics or processing, has created a firestorm in the mobile blogosphere. If Facebook had a mobile operating system, they would not qualify as "independent" according to the new rules and hence could be blocked. Recent legislation, such as the draft privacy bill from Rep. Rick Boucher, seeks to define and require opt-in approval for "sensitive information." That could be your exact geographic location or something similar. Of course users comfortable with geo-location applications shouldn't have a problem providing their approval, not many people read those fine print in pop-ups anyway - but they should.  We are seeing inconsistent privacy notices and policies in use across desktop and mobile applications. Apple justifies their approach under the "privacy" banner, but could attract the scrutiny of the FTC. The recent leak of AT&T ICC-ID data to obtain user email addresses brings Apple's privacy concerns up front and personal. While not necessarily Apple's fault, they still require an email address for iTunes. Mobile advertising has evolved from the desktop space with some innovation, although there have not been many break-through ideas. Apple's iAd experience is very clever in that users clicking ads are presented an HTML5 container without leaving the app. Delivery and bundling of iAds via iTunes supports their cash engine. By forcing developers to use HTML5, this further drives the standard away from Adobe. Perhaps Apple could use iTunes as a repository for user opt-in status thereby eliminating interruptions in the application itself.