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Six trade and marketing organizations this morning published an open letter to Apple asking the company to "rethink" plans to launch new versions of Safari in iOS and macOS that block cross-site tracking, and this afternoon, Apple offered up a response, which was shared by The Loop.

According to Apple, ad tracking companies are essentially able to recreate a person's web browsing history using cross site tracking techniques sans permission, something it's aiming to stop.

safaripreventcrosssitetracking-800x306.jpg
"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," Apple said in a statement provided to The Loop.

"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."
In the open letter, signed by the Data and Marketing Association and the Network Advertising Initiative, among others, the collective "digital advertising community" said it is "deeply concerned" because the update "overrides and replaces existing user-controlled cookie preferences" before going on to suggest that customers prefer targeted ads.

"Apple's unilateral and heavy-handed approach is bad for consumer choice and bad for the ad-supported online content and services consumers love," reads the letter. "Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful."

In both macOS High Sierra and iOS 11, the Safari web browser is gaining new privacy features to prevent companies from tracking customer web browsing habits across websites. "The success of the web as a platform relies on user trust," Apple says on the WebKit blog. "Many users feel that trust is broken when they are being tracked and privacy-sensitive data about their web activity is acquired for purposes that they never agreed to."

In iOS 11, the toggle to turn off cross-site tracking is available by going to Settings --> Safari --> Prevent Cross-Site Tracking. With macOS High Sierra, the feature can be accessed by going to the Preferences section of the Safari app, choosing Privacy, and then checking "Prevent Cross-Site Tracking."

iOS 11 will be released to the public next Tuesday, September 19, while macOS High Sierra will be released on the following Monday, September 25.

Article Link: Apple Responds to Safari 11 Criticism From Advertising Groups: 'People Have a Right to Privacy'
 

Michaelgtrusa

macrumors 604
Oct 13, 2008
7,900
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They are right, but it's what happens behind the scenes that worries me, then their are elements that try and bypass it and the well informed can guess woa they are.
 
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canadianreader

macrumors 65816
Sep 24, 2014
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It is bad for ad companies not for the consumer. Most of us already know what we want and what we need.
What I don't like with these ad vultures is they always put us consumers as victims when something bothers THEM and clearly doesn't bother privacy concerned consumers.
 

simonmet

Cancelled
Sep 9, 2012
2,666
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Sydney
They (Apple) just want to make sure they are the only ones that know what you're doing online so the value of their telemetry data is worth more $$$$

You may be right, but at least they don’t sell your data to advertisers (that we know about). Apple is pretty clear about what and when it collects for its services and internal advertising and gives you the option to turn most, if not all, of it off.
 
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Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,315
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The advertising people's stated objections seem to hold no water, as this is an optional thing. If they truly care about respecting user-controlled preferences* and believe we all prefer targeted ads then no-one will choose to use this feature, will they? :)

Well done Apple.

*I had to type this statement three times before I stopped laughing.
 

Xgm541

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2011
1,098
818
This is nothing more than Apple's way of exerting their large user base against their competitors under the guise of increased privacy. Don't be fooled.
 
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