Apple is hoping its latest move to fully block third-party cookies on Safari will “pave the way” for Google Chrome.
Apple – which makes the bulk of its profits selling hardware – has been fighting against third-party cookies since 2017 when it first introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP).
The company even acknowledges this latest change is nothing too major.
“It might seem like a bigger change than it is,” said Apple security and privacy engineer John Wilander.
“But we’ve added so many restrictions to ITP since its initial release in 2017 that we are now at a place where most third-party cookies are already blocked in Safari.”
The changes mean third-party cookies will now be blocked by default on Safari. There are also new safeguards which will remove statefulness from cookie blocking and prevent ITP being used as a tracking device.
Login fingerprinting has also been disabled.
While the changes are nothing major, Apple believes it is leading the way for the rest of the industry.
“Safari continues to pave the way for privacy on the web, this time as the first mainstream browser to fully block third-party cookies by default,” said Wilander.
“As far as we know, only the Tor Browser has featured full third-party cookie blocking by default before Safari, but Brave just has a few exceptions left in its blocking so in practice they are in the same good place.
“We know Chrome wants this behaviour too and they announced that they’ll be shipping it by 2022.”
With competitors Google and Facebook relying heavily on online advertising, Apple has looked to use data protection and privacy as a competitive advantage in recent years, highlighted by the “what happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone” outdoor campaign in Vegas last year.
Apple’s announcement comes as it is revealed the W3C Business Group will petition Google to postpone its removal of third-party cookies on Chrome due to COVID-19.
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