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New Safari feature blocks ad tracking click tracking




Apple added a new anti-tracking feature to Safari that prevents one-on-one tracking of users who click an ad on one site and make a purchase on another, non-related site. Instead, the connection will be blurred so that an advertiser can only track the total impact of a small number of different ads over short periods of time.

The new approach, called Privacy Conservation Ad Click Attribution, rolled out in Safari Technology Preview today (version 82), and Apple said it will appear in the general version of Safari later in 2019. It is also presented as a proposed standard For the early stage of the Web Platform Incubator Community Group at W3C, an organization that helps create standard web browsers and websites.

In a blog post on the WebKit site, Apple Security and personal accountant John Wilander explained how the dance of advertising sites, browsers and e-commerce sites will work in some technical detail, both intended to inform websites about upcoming changes and teach developers how to implement and test the new approach.

This new Safari feature is part of Apple's effort to distinguish itself from Amazon, Faceb's privacy, Google, and others who have a significant dependence on broad-based user tracking as part of their advertising and product sales revenue models. Ads that identify users by age, income, placement and interests take in more money. To make Safari more resilient to user tracking racks in the privacy column while pinching these other companies' potential revenue.

How it works

With this new ad-click attribution model, an advertising site will not be able to Attach comprehensive and unique identifiers in a link or track a user with cookies. It will also require so-called "first party" links, where the tracking information is entirely concerned with the website a user visits instead of embedded code or web page sections (called "iframes") provided by a third party.

With current ad and user tracking, third-party networks can build comprehensive user-friendliness and buying behavior profiles without having the user's specific permission. This information is used to shape the ads you see. If you ever wondered why you bought a multi-pack of facial tissue on one site, seeing the face tissue ads on each site you visited for the next two reasons, is this tracking across the website.

In Apple's model, a potential buyer sees an ad that has one of 64 numbers embedded in it, from 0 to 63, as well as the destination domain listed separately from the link itself. This uniquely identifies the ad for a given advertiser, but does not provide a sufficient enough reach to the ID user.

If the user clicks on the ad, only the appropriate domain name receives that ad code. No cookies are sent and Other tracking information is removed.

On the e-commerce site, if a visitor continues to make a purchase or other action, the site may use an invisible image to generate a request in the user's browser back to the advertising site that specifies what happened. The request contains a code which is again limited to the range of 0 to 63. While it seems like a poor number, it can code for time of day, type of purchase and other general properties. The e-commerce site can optionally return a priority code if a user performs multiple tasks, such as "add to the shopping cart" versus "make a high dollar purchase" – and then rank them.

The ad slot receives the incoming data from the e-commerce site and redirects a user's web browser to a standard path on the site that Apple will require all sites to use for this purpose. Safari records this path, which includes the ad number and action code, but does nothing.

At a random time between 24 and 48 hours later, Safari sends a single cookie-free request to the ecommerce site containing the original advertising ID and the highest priority event that the ecommerce site referred back to. The advertising site, e-commerce site and Apple never have access to this information, as it is all stored and managed locally in Safari.

By limiting the range of numbers and random logging of the behavior a user involved in a random later time, Safari provides aggregated information on the outcome of campaigns by advertisers, but very little information that can be linked directly to individual users. (The IP address from which a browser makes a request will still be sent, but users on laptops, smartphones, and tablets constantly change addresses when they move, while private ISPs often collect traffic under a limited number of Internet twists addresses.)


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