Ad groups blast apple for blocking cookies in Safari

An open letter from six advertising trade groups criticizes Apple for a new Safari feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), which uses machine learning to identify and limit any tracking behavior in the Safari browser. Tracking can include third-party cookies and identification puts a 24-hour time limit on that behavior. 

According to Adweek, part of the letter reads: “Apple’s unilateral and heavy-handed approach is bad for consumer choice and bad for the ad-supported online content and services consumers love. Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful. Put simply, machine-driven cookie choices do not represent user choice; they represent browser-manufacturer choice.” 

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ITP collects statistics on resource loads, as well as user interactions such as taps, clicks, and text entries. The statistics are put into buckets per top privately-controlled domain.

The feature is designed to limit the ability for website owners and ad platforms to track users across domains. Websites that load scripts or images from other domains will be classified using machine-learning processes, and cookies from these sites will be partitioned to prevent their use for tracking after 24 hours from the user’s original interaction.

The 24-hour exemption period from cookie partitioning is designed to enable scenarios where users may use their login information from one domain on another website or service. After 30 days (without a subsequent interaction) the cookies will be purged completely from the user’s device