Advertisers are upset with Safari's new anti-tracking features

From Engadget - September 16, 2017

One of the lesser talked about announcements from Apple's WWDC event is that High Sierra's Safari will have something called "Intelligent Tracking Prevention," which uses machine learning to identify ad tracking behavior. Specifically, it will stop you from being tracked by advertisers as you go from site to site, so that you no longer keep seeing an ad for that thing you looked up on Amazon that one time. As you might expect, however, advertisers are not too happy about this, and a group of them have come forward to condemn the company for its "unilateral and heavy-handed approach" to user privacy.

Six major advertising trade associations released a joint letter stating that the new Safari would "create a set of haphazard rules over the use of first-party cookies (i.e. those set by a domain the user has chosen to visit) that block their functionality or purge them from users' browsers without notice or choice." They continue to say that the rules will hurt the user experience and that they are "bad for consumer choice and bad for the ad-supported online content and services consumers love."

Apple, however, is firmly convinced that it's doing the best it can for users. In a statement, the company says: "Apple believes that people have a right to privacy. Safari was the first browser to block third-party cookies by default and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy."

It further states: "Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person's web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the internet. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person's browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally."


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