Privacy has been a huge concern lately, with Facebook’s reputation being destroyed, Google in the fire for collecting data and Apple focusing on pro-privacy ads. All the world want’s to talk about nowadays is their own privacy. And rightly so.
Apple has allowed some form of adblocking in the past, however, that’s unpreferable to a lot of users as many of the websites they visit depend solely on ad-revenue. Individual YouTuber’s come to mind due to the outcry of creators that have lost their daily hood because of YouTube’s Adpocalypse.
Browsers like Brave have outed themselves by supporting privacy-respecting ads and even by paying users a portion of the profit. The company’s WebKit engineer behind Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention, John Wilander, has stepped forward and informally announced something called “The Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution”.
In short, this is not truly an adblocker. Most ads displayed on the web put a cookie in your browser that essentially knows how you surf the web, where you are and what you do. This is all to maximise the potential of showing you an ad that you’d be interested in.
Ever Googled “cheap gaming mouse” and ended up seeing an ad for Amazon Basics Mouse for months with no end in sight? This is because the network has identified you as a potential customer. While we aren’t here to criticise the preciseness of the technology, the privacy concerns arise. This single ad could be following you everywhere on the internet and know exactly what websites you visit, ultimately “fingerprinting” you which is a term used to… I won’t explain the obvious.
Apple’s idea is to prevent this from happening, but without advertisers losing out on data they actually need:
The combination of third-party web tracking and ad campaign measurement has led many to conflate web privacy with a web free of advertisements. We think that’s a misunderstanding. Online ads and measurement of their effectiveness do not require Site A, where you clicked an ad, to learn that you purchased something on Site B. The only data needed for measurement is that someone who clicked an ad on Site A made a purchase on Site B.
Today we are presenting a new technology to allow attribution of ad clicks on the web while preserving user privacy.
Safari has an absolute dominance on the web thanks to its enormous iOS user base. This change could spread further down to other browsers in the near future meaning safer web for everyone, not just Safari users.