Apple to begin treating online web tracking as a security vulnerability

Apple has annunced that it is going to take a hard stance on online privacy with a new anti-tracking policy in Safari.

The iPhone maker has published a “WebKit Tracking Prevention Policy” that goes into specifics about the types of anti-tracking methods it has developed, the practices it believes are harmful to users, and the unintended consequences of those preventive countermeasures.

Publishers and companies rely heavily on online tracking — collecting data about a user’s activity on the web — to keep tabs on your every move as you hop from one site to the other.

Apple began to crack down on web-tracking two years ago with Intelligent Tracking Protection (ITP). The technology aims to limit advertisers cross-site tracking on iOS and macOS Safari browsers, at the same time, measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns on the web without compromising on your privacy.

The anti-tracking policy

Viewed in that light, the new policy is an extension of this privacy-by-design paradigm. The company seeks to prevent all forms of covert tracking methods outlined above, failing which it will ask for user’s informed consent before allowing tracking.

Apple warns that parties trying to circumvent its anti-tracking tech in Safari will be treared “with the same seriousness as exploitation of security vulnerabilities”, and that it “may add additional restrictions without prior notice.”

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