In June 2021 Apple unveiled new, powerful privacy protections in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8. These protections grant users more control and the ability to manage access to their data.
In its commitment to “privacy leadership”, it has expanded its features to include Privacy Nutrition Labels and App Tracking Transparency within the App Store.
Their latest capability, “Hide My Email”, allows users to share distinct and “random” email addresses that forward into their personal inboxes when they desire to keep their personal email address private.
It also allows users to create and delete as many email addresses as needed at any given time. This once again gives users complete control as to who may contact them.
Privacy For The Win…For Fraud Specialists, Not So Much
At first glance, it seems like Apple is meeting the growing demands for privacy and security. Here are just a breakdown of more of its features:
- Private Relay: For subscribers who have the Apple iCloud storage service, they will get iCloud+, which includes Private Relay. This service hides user IP addresses, which are used to identify the location.
- No tracking pixels: All images in the Mail app will be run through proxy servers to disable tracking pixels that inform email marketers when and where messages were opened.
- App Privacy Report: Within the iPhone settings, Apple will reveal which servers apps are connected to. It will also inform users how often apps will utilize both the camera and the microphone.
- Hide My Email: For iCloud subscribers, they will be able to both create and use temporary, anonymous email addresses. These are known as burner addresses within the Mail app.
As much as these privacy settings are needed, marketers and merchants alike will face a significant impact.
Sara Stevens, vice-president of digital capabilities at Epsilon said:
“These changes will impact providers that may rely heavily on IP addresses for identification. Marketers should increasingly favor identity resolution providers that focus on privacy-safe, person-level, consented identifiers.”
Thanks to these privacy settings, marketers will need to scramble to find more private ways to track user behavior and release targeted ads.
When it comes to fraud prevention, merchants have relied heavily on using email addresses to identify users or as an important piece of data to determine the risk for fraud in every transaction. E-mails typically tend to stay the same and therefore have become a mainstay for establishing identity.
Unfortunately, with the rollout of this new privacy feature, emails will no longer be useful and merchants may need to pivot and find another way to carry out fraud prevention and the analysis of transactions.
According to Karisse Hendrick, principal at Chargelytics Consulting,
“Email verification still has value, but you may need to reassess how much value your fraud system places on this single identifier. Otherwise, you run a significant risk of a high false-positive/insult rate, which translates to lost revenue—not only in the loss of the value of a first transaction but also customer lifetime value.”
We Have Entered The “Privacy-First Era”
Apple is unveiling many privacy-driven features. This is proof that we have entered a new era that didn’t exist before, where the user, for the first time, has the power to control their own privacy.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said:
“Privacy has been central to our work at Apple from the very beginning. Every year, we push ourselves to develop new technology to help users take more control of their data and make informed decisions about whom they share it with. This year’s updates include innovative features that give users deeper insights and more granular control than ever before.”