The Washington Post - 22.08.2019

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THURSDAY, AUGUST 22 , 2019. THE WASHINGTON POST EZ RE A


the bad actors, but what does it do
to the good guys?”
In developing his app, which
was inspired by concerns about
watching his now 10-year-old son
surf YouTube, Youngblood had
tapped companies that have
sprung up to create advertising
and analytics software that com-
plies with the law to help protect
children. Companies such as Su-
perAwesome, for instance, say hu-
mans review each advertisement
for child-appropriateness and en-
sure that no personally identifi-
able information is collected.
He’s now looking into hiring
in-house ad sales people, which
would increase costs and require
resources, and focusing more on
other platforms such as Android.
Before banning third-party ad-
vertising and analytics software,
Apple spoke to specific develop-
ers and described what it was
planning to do, Schiller said. He
declined to name any of the devel-
opers. “We gathered enough data
that we’re doing the right thing,”
he said.
Clark Stacey, chief executive of
Utah-based WildWorks, says Ap-
ple’s new guidelines will funda-
mentally change his company.
Most of the company’s apps, such
as Animal Jam, Amazing Animals
and Animal Jam Jump, don’t have
advertising, but the company
uses analytics software to deter-
mine its development strategy. To
protect children, the company
employs about 30 moderators
and support staff to scan for inap-
propriate content, and child psy-
chologists to ensure safety.
But Apple’s new rules will al-
most certainly mean the end of a
WildWorks game called “Tag
With Ryan,” based on a 7-year-old
named Ryan whose YouTube toy
reviews made him $22 million
last year. That game is supported
by ads, Stacey said. “If that mone-
tization model is removed, I don’t
know how long it would be able to
continue,” he said.
Developers of children’s apps
say Apple’s restrictions will en-
courage them to start developing
apps that are technically made for
adults — even if many of the users
end up being children, meaning
they are less protected than on
children’s apps.
Parent groups have raised con-
cerns about apps such as
ChatLive, a video chat service cat-
egorized for adults that is popular
with children and that receives no
additional scrutiny from Apple.
The shooter game Fortnite is also
categorized as an adult app,
though it’s popular among chil-
dren.
Lindsay Wolfe, a stay-at-home
mother of two in Chicago, said she
will continue to sit next to her
children, ages 1 and 3, any time
they use an iPad and supervise
their activity, regardless of what
Apple’s policies are.
“You can’t trust Apple to take
care of the problem for you,” she
said. “You still have to take re-
sponsibility for what your kids
see. It’s called parenting.”
reed.albergotti@washpost.com
craig.timberg@washpost.com

 More at washingtonpost.com/
technology

many developers’ businesses. De-
velopers say that, instead of a
blanket ban, Apple should man-
date that children’s apps use ad-
vertising and analytics that are
vetted for safety.
If the goal of Apple’s rule
changes for children’s apps is to
satisfy parents, it may have work
to do.
Ann Mongan, a scientist and
mother of a 7-year-old boy in San
Francisco, said that she supports
the idea of apps that don’t collect
data and don’t show advertise-
ments. But that’s not what Apple
is doing, she pointed out. Devel-
opers themselves are still free to
collect any data they please and
show ads, as long as they are not
placed by automated advertising
software. Banning third parties,
she said, is a good step but doesn’t
solve the problem.
“It’s basically just lip service
and publicity so that people feel
like they’re safer, when they really
are not,” she said.
Under the new rules, develop-
ers of mobile apps don’t have to
stop collecting data themselves.
(Apple’s own analytics software is
also not banned, according to the
new rules.) And once they collect
the data, Apple can’t see what
they do with it, such as send it to a
server, where it can be analyzed
by outside parties. In some sense,
Apple could be making the prob-
lem worse by pushing data collec-
tion into the shadows, according
to developers and people who
work at analytics companies.
In June, when Apple an-
nounced its new privacy guide-
lines for children’s apps, Tankee’s
Youngblood was confused. “We
just wanted clarity on how best to
follow the guidelines,” he said. “I
understand we want to clean up

fight. The 1998 U.S. Children’s
Online Privacy Protection Act and
the newer European General
Data Protection Regulation limit
what data children’s apps are able
to track. But there have been ram-
pant violations.
A long set of rules, known as the
App Store Review Guidelines,
govern the way app developers
are allowed to operate. How those
rules are enforced is a mystery,
developers say. They have little
visibility into Apple’s process of
approving and rejecting apps.
And when they are told they are in
violation of the rules, they often
are not told why. Apple says on its
website that its app review team
makes about 1,000 calls a week to
diagnose any issues that led to an
app rejection.
It’s still unclear exactly how the
new children’s app rules will man-
ifest and how they may affect

remove inappropriate ads — but
that approach typically failed,
Schiller said. And analytics soft-
ware has gotten increasingly so-
phisticated in data collection.
Now, critics say, Apple is throw-
ing the baby out with the bath
water by banning all external
tracking and advertising on chil-
dren’s apps, even when those apps
comply with data privacy regula-
tions.
“This will simply kill the kids’
app category,” said Dylan Collins,
chief executive of SuperAwesome,
which helps app developers navi-
gate child privacy laws in several
countries. Apple’s changes are
“easy to perceive as ham-fisted”
and show that Apple doesn’t un-
derstand how the action will af-
fect the sector, he said.
Privacy advocates have been
complaining for years about the
problems Apple says it is trying to

say that because of Apple’s domi-
nance in the app economy, its
potentially small changes can
wreak havoc on many businesses.
Apple has about 71 percent of
spending on the U.S. app market,
while Google is a distant second
with about 29 percent. Globally,
consumers spent $25.5 billion on
Apple’s App Store in the first half
of 2019, according to market re-
search firm Sensor Tower, far
ahead of the $14 billion spent on
Google’s Android platform.
“Apple would definitely throw
its weight around less if it knew all
its developers could desert it for
any number of alternatives,” said
Christopher Sagers, a professor at
the Cleveland-Marshall College of
Law and author of the upcoming
book “United States v. Apple” that
explores the company’s allegedly
anti-competitive behavior.
Apple’s App Store is already
under the antitrust microscope.
The company is facing a Euro-
pean investigation into allega-
tions made by Swedish music app
Spotify that Apple unfairly tipped
the scales on the App Store in
favor of Apple Music, a similar
service. And the Supreme Court in
May allowed a lawsuit to proceed
that accuses Apple of using mo-
nopoly power to inflate app pric-
es.
Children’s apps are estimated
to make up only a small portion of
the millions of apps available in
the store, though Apple declined
to give a percentage. It’s unclear
how many of those are collecting
personally identifiable data on
children, and Apple declined to
quantify how many are behaving
badly.
Apple has previously contacted
developers and advertising soft-
ware operators to ask them to

BY REED ALBERGOTTI
AND CRAIG TIMBERG

Apple plans to change the rules
it has for children’s apps, raising
concerns among some app devel-
opers about the way the tech giant
wields power unilaterally over an
App Store that has become an
industry unto itself.
Under the new rules, which
Apple had planned to implement
next month, children’s apps on
Apple’s App Store will be banned
from using external analytics soft-
ware — invisible lines of code that
collect extremely detailed infor-
mation about who is using an app
and how. Apple is also severely
curtailing the apps’ ability to sell
ads, which underpins the busi-
ness model that results in many
apps being free. The changes were
prompted in part by some chil-
dren viewing inappropriate ads,
Apple said.
The new rules pit Apple’s priva-
cy prerogative against an over-
reach of its power.
Apple said it is making the
move in part to better protect
users’ privacy by shielding chil-
dren from data trackers, a move
that has been lauded by some
privacy advocates. But some de-
velopers say they fear that the
new rules won’t protect children
— possibly exposing them to more
adult apps — and could pointless-
ly reduce their business.
That’s what’s worrying Gerald
Youngblood. He created Tankee,
an iPhone app intended to be a
safe alternative to YouTube, with
the help of privacy experts and
lawyers. While the app is gaining
traction, ranking in the top 10
apps for children ages 9 to 11, the
new rules could limit Tankee’s
ability to show ads and force
Youngblood to abandon his mod-
el to make the app free.
Tankee shouldn’t be lumped in
with the apps that are negligent
and fail to protect children,
Youngblood said. “We thought
they were going to shut down
these apps that are ignoring pri-
vacy and targeting kids,” he said.
“We were built with privacy as a
foundation.”
Apple said it was simply re-
sponding to parents’ concerns.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice
president of worldwide market-
ing, said parents were complain-
ing to Apple about inappropriate
advertising shown to their chil-
dren while using iPhone apps.
“Parents are really upset when
that happens because they trust
us,” Schiller said.
After an inquiry from The
Washington Post, Apple said Fri-
day that it now plans to delay the
rule changes. “We aren’t backing
off on this important issue, but we
are working to help developers
get there,” Apple spokesman Fred
Sainz wrote in an emailed state-
ment. The statement said some
developers had asked Apple to
clarify the new rules, but that
“generally we have heard from
them that there is widespread
support for what we are trying to
do to protect kids.”
Apple’s June announcement of
its new children’s app rules has
triggered complaints from usual-
ly complacent developers. They


Economy & Business


INTERNATIONAL FINANCE


IMF cautions against


weakening currencies


The International Monetary
Fund on Wednesday warned
against governments trying to
weaken their currencies through
monetary easing or market
interventions, arguing in a blog
post that this would hurt the
functioning of the international
monetary system and make all
nations worse off.
The post, which comes as
global central bankers are
gathering this week to discuss
monetary policy issues in
Jackson Hole, Wyo., said that
policy proposals to use monetary
easing and direct purchases of
other countries’ currencies are
unlikely to work.
President Trump has stepped
up his complaints about a strong
dollar hurting U.S. exports in
recent days as a key index of the
dollar’s value against other
currencies rose amid a stock
market recovery. On Wednesday,
he revived his Twitter campaign
for the Federal Reserve to cut
U.S. interest rates.


The IMF researchers said that
one problem for limiting impacts
of U.S. currency fluctuations on
the trade balance is that many
U.S. imports from China and
other countries are invoiced in
dollars, not local currencies.
The IMF blog post emphasized
that global external imbalances
are not grossly misaligned and
repeated the fund’s view that
China’s external position, which
includes the value of the yuan,
was broadly in line with
fundamentals in 2018.
— Reuters

AVIATION INDUSTRY

Inquiry in Airbus blast
focuses on flawed part

Investigators probing an
engine explosion on an Air
France A380 in 2017 are studying
a possible manufacturing flaw in
a recently salvaged cracked part
in a move likely to trigger urgent
checks on dozens of Airbus
superjumbos, people familiar
with the matter said.
The focus of a two-year-old
investigation into the midair
explosion over Greenland, which

left the plane carrying more than
500 passengers with the front of
one engine missing, has switched
to the recently recovered “fan
hub,” the people said.
The titanium alloy part is the
centerpiece of a 3-meter-wide fan
on engines built for the world’s
largest airliner by U.S.-based
Engine Alliance, co-owned by

General Electric and Pratt &
Whitney.
It had been buried in
Greenland’s ice sheet since
September 2017, when one of four
engines on Air France Flight 66
abruptly disintegrated en route
from Paris to Los Angeles. It was
pulled from the ice in June after
an aerial radar search.

France’s BEA air accident
agency said it had discovered a
“subsurface fatigue crack” on the
recovered part and the engine
maker was preparing checks.
Besides Air France, other
airlines operating the A380 with
Engine Alliance power plants
include Dubai’s Emirates, Qatar
Airways, Abu Dhabi-based
Etihad and Korean Air.
— Reuters

ALSO IN BUSINESS
JPMorgan Chase is planning to
shut down its Chase Pay app in
the bank’s third reversal on
digital offerings in as many
months. The bank started
informing customers Wednesday
that they will no longer be able to
pay with their smartphones
when shopping in stores. They
will still be able to use Chase Pay
on the websites and apps of
retailers that accept it.

U.S. home sales rose more than
expected in July, boosted by
lower mortgage rates and a
strong labor market, signs the
Federal Reserve’s shift toward
lower interest rates was
supporting the economy. A

separate report released by the
Labor Department on
Wednesday suggested the level of
employment in the country was
slightly lower than previously
estimated.

Alphabet’s Google and Firefox
browser maker Mozilla took
action on Wednesday to block
Kazakhstan’s government from
creating an Internet surveillance
system using their respective
browsers. Google Chrome and
Mozilla Firefox will block a
certain government certificate
that allows its authorities to
decrypt and read anything a user
types or posts using the
browsers.

Walmart’s lawsuit against Tesla
over fires at more than a half-
dozen stores threatens to
undermine the automaker’s
latest bid to reboot its foundering
solar unit. In the complaint
Tuesday, the retailer said it had
leased or licensed roof space at
more than 240 stores to Tesla’s
energy unit, formerly known as
SolarCity, to install and operate
solar systems.
— From news services

DIGEST

NAVESH CHITRAKAR/REUTERS
A worker cleans the roof of the international airport in Kathmandu,
Nepal, on Wednesday. Nepali authorities banned single-use plastics in
the Everest region to reduce waste left behind in the Himalayas.

Grown-ups bicker over children’s apps


Apple says it wants new rules to strengthen privacy protections, but developers think the company’s approach could backfire and harm business


PHOTOS BY ILANA PANICH-LINSMAN FOR THE WASHINGTON POST
“We thought they were going to shut down these apps that are ignoring privacy and targeting kids,” Tankee developer Gerald Youngblood
said. “We were built with privacy as a foundation.” Tankee is an iPhone children’s app intended to be a safe alternative to YouTube.




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Tankee is gaining traction, ranking in the top 10 apps for children
ages 9 to 11, but new rules could limit Tankee’s ability to show ads
and force Youngblood to abandon his model to make the app free.
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