Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Recode’s Lame Reporting on Google’s Anti-Security Recommendation

I would expect this kind of stuff from general-audience publications, but a tech-centric site like Recode has no excuse. Mark Bergen:

Apple says it cares a lot about privacy. Just ask Tim Cook.

Hence, its new iOS 9 operating system will boast a new feature, called App Transport Security, or ATS, which is supposed to require iPhone app developers to use an advanced security protocol. The idea is to keep the operating system lock tight.

Google says it cares a lot about privacy, too. And it says Apple is doing the right thing.

But Google also says that not every app developer and mobile publisher will be able to work with Apple’s new standards, at least not yet. So, when those app publishers that aren’t running the protocol meet Apple’s new encryption, their mobile ads won’t run. No ads, less revenue.

Bergen makes it sound as though ATS is some sort of crazy cutting-edge encryption standard. In reality, it’s TLS — in most uses for app developers, used via HTTPS — which has been around since the ’90s. True, the cyphers Apple requires aren’t that old, which is good, but it’s not some kind of proprietary tech or anything.

That fix ticked off some people in the security world, who saw it as an attempt by Google to prioritize ads over privacy.

But it is. Or, at least, this viewpoint isn’t incorrect.