Who is your savior? Apple, right? Nope. It’s Firefox. And Brave. And other browser makers who dare to take on the Google monopoly for search money. Yet, Apple shows a brave face from time to time. The latest is what happens when Apple changes the definition of trackers.
Cookies & Trackers
The latest has to do with Apple’s Safari WebKit team. WebKit is the open-source web browser project supported by Apple and maybe somebody else. Google’s Chrome comes from Chromium, the engine used by Microsoft Edge, Opera, Brave, and others. Mozilla rolls its own.
Anyway, the WebKit team plans changes to Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention technology. IPT. The whole idea of IPT is a good one.
ITP broadly aims to limit marketers from tracking iOS and macOS Safari users across different websites, but without impeding a marketer’s ability to measure the performance of their online ads.
Fair enough, what’s the problem? Well, advertisers and trackers– including Google– found ways around Safari’s restrictions and since both companies play a constant tit-for-tat battle, it’s now time for Apple to respond.
It will treat efforts to circumvent its anti-tracking tech in Safari “with the same seriousness as exploitation of security vulnerabilities”, with its response potentially targeted at a specific organization.
Uh, OK. What does that mean for those advertisers and trackers who try to get around Apple’s new Safari protection system?
If a party attempts to circumvent our tracking-prevention methods, we may add additional restrictions without prior notice… These restrictions may apply universally; to algorithmically classified targets; or to specific parties engaging in circumvention
In other words, they get treated like malware and get blocked. Attaboy Apple!
Whoa. Wait a minute.
The online world is full of trackers. Think about those Google and Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn LIKE buttons that exist almost everywhere. Some call them Dickbars. I like that.
What about those?
We may alter tracking-prevention methods to permit certain use cases, particularly when greater strictness would harm the user experience. In other cases, we will design and implement new web technologies to re-enable these practices without reintroducing tracking capabilities
Fair enough. Let’s hope it works, but Apple needs to do far more to get me to switch from Firefox back to Safari.