Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Success of Intelligent Tracking Prevention

Michael Potuck (Hacker News):

Executives in the online publishing industry speaking with The Information say that Apple has been “stunningly effective” with its goal of Intelligent Tracking Prevention stopping websites from knowing what users are doing on the web. One of the results of this over the last two years is that costs for advertisers have dropped significantly for Safari users while they’ve gone up for Chrome.


While that might sound like a positive thing for advertisers, the reason the price for Safari ads has gone down is that they’re less desirable. Because of Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), marketers can’t focus on specific demographics, for example like those in higher-income brackets.

This sounds great, but I would also like to see a report on how many sites don’t work in Safari because of ITP.

John Wilander:

Any kind of tracking prevention or content blocking that treats web content differently based on its origin or URL risks being abused itself for tracking purposes if the set of origins or URLs provide some uniqueness to the browser and webpages can detect the differing treatment.

To combat this, tracking prevention features must make it hard or impossible to detect which web content and website data is treated as capable of tracking. We have devised three ITP enhancements that not only fight detection of differing treatment but also improve tracking prevention in general.


Update (2020-01-03): Peter Steinberger:

Disabling Intelligent Tracking Prevention on Safari is now Zendesk’s official recommendation, just so you can log in.

Update (2020-11-27): Maxwell Swadling:

I just searched for a product on (has a fb js tracker) in a private browsing safari window on my mac and now the fb website in a private browsing tab on my phone is serving ads for it. So they are just tracking with IPs now?

it doesn’t matter how good safari’s intelligent tracking prevention is, fb will just track with IPs it seems.

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