Apple defends new stricter Safari ad-tracking blockers

While Apple has taken heat from marketing groups for blocking cross-site tracking in Safari, the company doubled down on its commitment to user privacy and explained the move in comments to 9to5Mac. Safari has historically been tougher on third-party tracking than other browsers — it was the first to block third-party cookies by default — and the company said its Intelligent Tracking Prevention is the next step to keep user data from being misused. “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,” Apple said in its statement. “This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet.”
The company’s answer to that is to specifically target and eliminate the cookies and other data left behind by websites to be used in cross-site tracking, making it more difficult to keep track of a user’s browsing history. An open letter from the Data and Marketing Association and the Network Advertising initiative called the move “heavy-handed” and claims it will damage ad-supported content online. ”Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers,” the letter said. But Apple disputed that characterization, writing that, “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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