Do you want YouTube to know everything you’ve browsed or purchased on Amazon? Do you want every Google search you make to be accessed by Facebook to customize your news feed?
If you’ve resigned yourself to accepting that everyone already knows everything you do online, last week’s major announcement from the Apple’s Webkit team may give you some hope. Webkit, the browser engine used by Apple’s Safari browser and iOS apps, have announced strict new rules around cross-domain user tracking (which is how Amazon ads for those headphones you looked at seem to follow you everywhere).
While not “anti-commerce”, Apple is making no concessions to the business impact these changes will have to the ability of digital advertisers (notably Google, Facebook, Amazon etc.) to micro-target ads and content recommendations to users based on their browsing habits.
Tracking We Will Prevent
WebKit will do its best to prevent all covert tracking, and all cross-site tracking (even when it’s not covert). These goals apply to all types of tracking listed above, as well as tracking techniques currently unknown to us. If a particular tracking technique cannot be completely prevented without undue user harm, WebKit will limit the capability of using the technique. For example, limiting the time window for tracking or reducing the available bits of entropy — unique data points that may be used to identify a user or a user’s behavior. If even limiting the capability of a technique is not possible without undue user harm, WebKit will ask for the user’s informed consent to potential tracking.
We treat circumvention of shipping anti-tracking measures with the same seriousness as exploitation of security vulnerabilities. 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.
We do not grant exceptions to our tracking prevention technologies to specific parties. Some parties might have valid uses for techniques that are also used for tracking. But WebKit often has no technical means to distinguish valid uses from tracking, and doesn’t know what the parties involved will do with the collected data, either now or in the future.
There are practices on the web that we do not intend to disrupt, but which may be inadvertently affected because they rely on techniques that can also be used for tracking. We consider this to be unintended impact. When faced with a tradeoff, we will typically prioritize user benefits over preserving current website practices. We believe that that is the role of a web browser, also known as the user agent.
Pointedly, at the end of that last section Webkit calls out the purpose of the browser is to serve the user, not the advertising ecosystem that has been built on top of it. No surprise that Google is trying to argue that blocking cookies is bad for privacy, because it will force advertisers to use more covert tracking methods like browser fingerprinting that users can’t disable (to that point, Webkit has said it will also shut down fingerprinting or any other covert tracking methods should they become an issue).
Apple is giving credit where credit is due, noting the changes were “inspired by and derived from Mozilla’s anti tracking policy”. Mozilla’s Firefox browser has been on a roll lately, implementing major speed improvements earlier this year, and great to see them leading this user-centric privacy initiative. For users creeped out by pervasive cross-site tracking, Safari and Firefox are appealing alternatives.
August 26, 2019 — TWG
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookies store information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.
This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the website is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages visted in an anonymous form.
This is set by Hotjar to identify a new user’s first session. It stores a true/false value, indicating whether this was the first time Hotjar saw this user. It is used by Recording filters to identify new user sessions.
The cookie is set when the visitor is logged in as a Pardot user.
Advertisement cookies are used to provide visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns. These cookies track visitors across websites and collect information to provide customized ads.
This cookie is a browser ID cookie set by Linked share Buttons and ad tags.
1 year 24 days
Used by Google DoubleClick and stores information about how the user uses the website and any other advertisement before visiting the website. This is used to present users with ads that are relevant to them according to the user profile.
This cookie is set by twitter.com. It is used integrate the sharing features of this social media. It also stores information about how the user uses the website for tracking and targeting.
This cookie is set by doubleclick.net. The purpose of the cookie is to determine if the user's browser supports cookies.
5 months 27 days
This cookie is set by Youtube. Used to track the information of the embedded YouTube videos on a website.
Other uncategorized cookies are those that are being analyzed and have not been classified into a category as yet.
This cookie is set by Hotjar. This cookie is set when the customer first lands on a page with the Hotjar script. It is used to persist the random user ID, unique to that site on the browser. This ensures that behavior in subsequent visits to the same site will be attributed to the same user ID.
16 years 9 months 2 days 8 hours 3 minutes
Linkedin - Used to track visitors on multiple websites, in order to present relevant advertisement based on the visitor's preferences.