Can you name another technology gadget maker better at privacy and security than Apple? Safari on macOS and iOS limits advertising trackers. Face ID and Touch ID make security and convenience easy. A year ago Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention to identify trackers and then segregate their tracking methods from your browsing experience. It was enough of a good idea that Google and other online
tracking stalking advertisers howled in protest.
Cover your ears. The howling is about to begin anew as Apple is ready to implement yet another tracker prevention measure in Safari. Apple went after after persistent cookies which can be used to track you and your browser while online.
Now Apple has its sights set on the so-called Dick Bar and website article comment fields which are used to track you while you visit a site, and then track you as you visit other sites. Those little Like buttons– Facebook, Twitter, and other social media– are called Dick Bars and Apple intends to inhibit their use and give you the option to allow their tracking or allow Safari to block their tracking.
When Safari sees a cookie with a domain name it determines if it has tracking capabilities– many do– and segregates accordingly. Even first party bounce trackers get, well, bounced, and Safari purges the data they collect. Mac users with macOS Mojave’s Safari installed will even make it difficult for trackers to fingerprint website visitors.
These are good moves, some overdue but highly appreciated and welcome. Step by step Apple has moved toward a more private online experience which further segregates the company’s customers from the great unwashed masses– and highly unprotected and vulnerable– users of Windows and Android.
All without installing an advertiser or tracker blocker.
Yet, this is another example of Apple walking a thin tightrope between users who want and need privacy and security built into their devices, and Google, which pays Apple a few billion dollars to keep Google’s search engine as the default on Safari.
Yes, you can change the default search engine to Bing, Yahoo!, StartPage, or others, but the default settings are seldom changed by average users, and that means Google still gets a slice of user privacy.
If Apple is serious about giving customers better privacy and security, why not allow StartPage as a search option instead of DuckDuckGo (search results are anemic at best). StartPage uses Google’s search engine and results but kills off the tracking components.
The increasingly popular Brave browser has even more privacy and security options and is highly recommended for its user friendly controls that really put a squeeze on trackers. Apple sends mixed signals. Privacy and security in public during keynote presentations, but backside deals with the world’s worst privacy thief and tracker, Google.