“The long wait is over,” Apple WebKit engineer John Wilander announced on Tuesday: the latest update to the Safari browser is blocking third-party cookies by default for all users.
Safari 13.1 was released on Tuesday, bringing full cookie blocking and other updates to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) privacy feature. What it means: online advertisers and analytics firms will no longer be able to use our browser cookies to follow us around like bloodhounds as we wander from site to site, tracking and mapping our interests and behavior for whatever profit-motivated, privacy-wrecking purposes they might have.
Is this is a big deal? Not really, Wilander said in a post on the WebKit team’s blog, given that previous work has meant that most cookies are already blocked:
It might seem like a bigger change than it is.
But we’ve added so many restrictions to ITP since its initial release in 2017 that we are now at a place where most third-party cookies are already blocked in Safari.
Safari thus joins other browsers that either plan to or are already blocking third-party tracking cookies by default, including the Tor browser. Mozilla rolled out the privacy enhancement in September 2019, announcing that Firefox would block both tracking cookies and cryptomining by default.
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