Tapjoy updates SDK after Apple bans apps that access UDIDs
Tapjoy updated its software development kit in response to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) efforts to reject iOS applications that access unique device identifiers [UDIDs] in iPhones and iPads.
According to Tapjoy, which offers app monetization and discovery services targeting the mobile developer segment, version 8.1.8 of its SDK offers an alternative to UDIDs that instead depends on Media Access Control addresses--i.e., unique identifiers assigned to network interfaces for communications across the physical network. Tapjoy relies on device identifiers to serve ads and deliver virtual currency at the request of consumers; President and CEO Mihir Shah said he is "confident" that the new SDK update and MAC address implementation are part of a workable solution to Apple's evolving App Store mandates.
Apple first warned iOS developers in August 2011 that it would limit their access to UDIDs (alphanumeric strings unique to each Apple device), stating on its website that UDID access "has been superseded and may become unsupported in the future." At that time, Apple stated developers may still create identifiers unique to each individual application. TechCrunch reports Apple began reaching out to some developers a few weeks ago urging them to halt their reliance on UDIDs, and the company is now aggressively rejecting new app submissions that incorporate UDID use.
The TechCrunch report adds that Apple is currently directing two of its 10 App Store review teams to summarily reject any app submissions that access UDIDs; that number will soon increase to four teams, and will continue to grow until all 10 teams are dismissing apps that continue to leverage UDIDs.
Developers and social gaming platforms have relied on UDIDs in iOS devices to collect personal data about consumers, even building detailed profiles outlining how they use applications. Mobile advertising networks have also depended on UDIDs as a campaign targeting tool, tracking consumers from app to app to determine how, when and why they respond to campaigns.
Apple's move to ban UDID access is likely a response to mounting lawmaker interest into how mobile apps collect and use consumer data. Last week, U.S. Representatives Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) mailed letters to Apple and 33 iOS developer partners including Path, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, foursquare and LinkedIn to determine how iOS apps gather user data, what they do with it and what notices they provide to consumers. According to a U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce statement, lawmakers want the information to begin building a "fact-based understanding of the privacy and security practices in the app marketplace." Developers have until April 12, 2012 to respond.
The letters follow the recent discovery that some iOS apps can upload entire address books to their servers, complete with names, telephone numbers and email addresses. Last month, Apple said it would upgrade its software so that developers can only access users' contact data after receiving explicit permission to do so. Apple made the announcement after the Path application came under fire for collecting and storing user contacts.
- read this Tapjoy blog entry
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