Apple rolled out a major update on Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) on Tuesday March 24, the browser functionality responsible for blocking cookies, and two years ahead of Google, which plans to do the same with Chrome only in 2022.
Concretely, no advertiser or website will be able to follow you by using third-party cookies, which can be used on several sites, and which can be used to follow the online activity of the internet user. Enough to reduce your digital footprint and suffer less targeted advertising, modeled on your online activity.
“Welcome to the future, and to a safer web”
A small step for privacy on the web, a big step for Apple which makes its browser take at least two years ahead of Google Chrome. Google announced last January that it plans to start blocking third-party cookies by 2022.
In addition, the Mountain View company intends to adopt a less radical approach than that of Apple. The goal is to satisfy everyone: Internet users who no longer want to be tracked via third-party cookies, but also website publishers who need advertisements to monetize their services. A big “at the same time” that would require Google to offer an alternative allowing online advertising to generate income, while respecting the privacy of the Internet users they target. The bet seems risky.
In the meantime, the Mountain View company has already advanced its pawns, for example by imposing new restrictions on the use of third-party cookies by websites on its Chrome browser. Google has also published a study on “fingerprinting”, a technique allowing to trace a surfer thanks to certain elements of his ITP, serving as fingerprint associated with his device. For example, the “do not track” feature was removed from Safari in 2019 for this reason. Basically, your browser “told” the sites to leave you alone. A request that makes you visible and could be used by certain “tracking” tools to form a fingerprint associated with you.
“The complete blocking of third-party cookies guarantees that no element of ITP can be detected via cookie blocking activities. We would once again like to thank Google for initiating this analysis with their study,” slips John Wilander in his communicated.
The first consumer browser to go so far in blocking
The expert then launches into other technical specificities but is content, overall, to salute that Safari is a leader on the question of privacy on the web. “In our opinion, only the Tor browser has applied the total blocking of third-party cookies by default before us, while Brave still leaves room for some rare exceptions in its blocking.”
According to John Wilander, Safari is therefore the first consumer browser to take such measures for the privacy of its users. Mozilla Firefox has also put the package in recent months on the protection of the privacy of its users.
Chrome should follow suit within two years and the expert from Apple undertakes to “report on our experiences of the total blocking of third-party cookies with the W3C (the web standardization body), to help ‘other browsers take the plunge.’