Identity (Crisis) for Advertisers? Studying the Tracking Ecosystems of Android and iOS

Category: Marketing Seminar
When: 05 July 2023
, 12:15
 - 13:30
Where: RuW 1.201
Speaker: Assistant Professor Konrad Kollnig (Faculty of Law, Maastricht University)

Identity (Crisis) for Advertisers? Studying the Tracking Ecosystems of Android and iOS


Ample past research highlighted that privacy problems are widespread in mobile apps and can have disproportionate impacts on individuals. However, doing such research, especially that through automated methods, remains hard and an arms race with those who engage in invasive data practices. This paper analyses how decisions by Apple and Google, the makers of the two primary app ecosystems (iOS and Android), currently hold back (automated) app privacy research and thereby create previously undocumented systemic risks. The study of mobile smartphone ecosystems is especially important since both Google and Apple have been introducing a range of measures (e.g. the Android Privacy Sandbox and Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework) that are supposed to improve privacy, but may also further undermine competition in these data ecosystems and mislead consumers in their purchase decisions. We base our analysis on a thorough review of the academic literature and on many years of experience in working in the space. Such an analysis is timely and pertinent since the EU Digital Services Act (DSA) – which sits between consumer protection and competition law – obliges Very Large Online Platforms to enable researchers to study systemic risks (Article 40) and to put in place reasonable, proportionate and effective mitigation measures (Article 35).

More information on Konrad Kollnig can be found here.

The Seminar will be held in Seminar Room RuW 1.201 as well as broadcasted via Zoom