Apple has shot down online ad industry demands to rethink its new privacy-protecting browser feature – due to launch this week – insisting that consumers are fed up with seeing ads follow them around the Internet.
Under Safari 11’s “intelligent tracking prevention” feature, the browser will automatically delete cookies its software determines are used to track consumers from one site to another, it will also erase first-party cookies from websites consumer have not visited for more than 30 days.
But a group calling itself the “Digital Advertising Community” – comprised of six major US advertising trade associations, the US DMA, IAB, the 4A’s, the American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, and the Network Advertising Alliance – has baulked at the plan.
In an open letter to Apple, published late last week, the group claimed that the Safari 11 feature breaks existing browser conventions. It added that “Apple’s unilateral and heavy-handed approach is bad for consumer choice and bad for the ad-supported online content and services consumers love” which will ultimately “sabotage the economic model for the Internet”.
But Apple has given the group short shrift, responding that “ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to re-create the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet. Apple believes that people have a right to privacy”.
It added that intelligent tracking prevention “does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers, will appear normally”, Apple said.
Interestingly, Apple is in agreement with the online ad industry in their opposition to many of the proposed measures contained in the EU ePrivacy Regulation. Last week, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership lobby group, of which Apple is a key member, demanded a rethink of the legislation.
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