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Apple Safari Will Block Third Party Cookies After Update

Last edited: March 27, 2020
Reading time: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

John Wilander, a WebKit engineer for Apple, has announced on Twitter that the latest update for Safari includes full third party cookie blocking. This is a major update to Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP). It is also a big step towards the protection of our privacy on the internet. Google announced in January that they will be phasing out third party cookies within the next two years. This means that Apple has beaten them to the punch.

Safari Update

Safari’s update was released immediately. Wilander stated that even though it might seem like a major change “most third party cookies [were] already blocked in Safari”. Safari’s ITP was launched three years ago, which was a big step forward for web privacy standards. The update will make sure that iOS and iPadOS 13.4 and Safari 13.1 will block all third party cookies by default. Safari is the first mainstream browser to do this. However, they aren’t the only browser that is reducing the amount of cookies and trackers.

Mozilla Firefox is also taking steps towards blocking trackers, implementing the feature last summer. Less known might be the Tor browser which already includes this block as a default setting. The Brave browser is almost on the same level, but has a few exceptions left in its blocking. Chrome users can block third party cookies if they want, but they have to do that manually in the settings. Apple is hoping to pave the way for others browsers and will be reporting on their experiences to privacy groups so that they can learn from their mistakes.

Third Party Cookies

We are all familiar with the cookie consent form on most websites. But not everyone is aware of what they actually give consent for. There are first party cookies, which are created by the website that you are visiting. They track what you click on and how much time you spend on their site. Third party cookies are created by others who own a piece of the website, like advertisers. They want to track their customers online so that they can target the correct audience. Tracking your internet behavior becomes very difficult for advertisers when browsers start blocking third party cookies.

Anonymous Browsing

Companies are taking very important steps to keep our private information secure. Advertising companies and marketers will try and find a way to find out as much as possible about your online presence. They use the information to target you as a customer. But there are also hackers that are looking for your data. Many people think that using the incognito mode solves all their problems, but this is not nearly as private as you think. Your internet connection is more secure when you are connected to a VPN server. The software will make sure that your data is encrypted so that it can no longer be used by others. We can all be safer online with the help of tools like these, and the steps being taken by internet browsers.

Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cyber security analyst and one of the founders of VPNoverview.com. Interested in the "digital identity" phenomenon, with special attention to the right to privacy and protection of personal data.

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