- Oct 1, 2019
At this year’s virtually held Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) there were a few attention-grabbing headlines about the upcoming iOS 14 and macOS releases. In what the company calls “the biggest update ever” the built-in browser Safari will get a new set of privacy features later in 2020 alongside the debut of Big Sur, the news MacOS.
Adding to its Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Safari will now feature a “Privacy Report” button in the toolbar that when clicked shows users information about the trackers on the websites they visit. In addition, the start page will now have a new weekly Privacy Report showing users how Safari protects them by revealing the known trackers it’s identified while they were browsing and from which websites the trackers originated. The idea is to offer more transparency to users about who and how they are being followed while online.
To understand why this news is a big deal let’s look at what exactly web tracking is and why you might want to care about it.
What is web tracking?
First, it’s important to keep in mind that tracking isn’t achieved by one single technology, rather it’s a combination of techniques used to identify and follow a user across multiple websites. By collecting information about your online activities, web trackers can monetize this information, selling it to advertisers who then compile data-rich, accurate profiles to use in the creation of highly targeted ads. And this isn’t always bad. In fact, people often willingly opt-in to trackers as they prefer – and even want – to see and receive personalized ads.