Apple reveals new way to stop ads from tracking you

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Apple
Safari is about to get a big privacy boost.
Photo: Apple

Apple revealed this morning that it has new plan to stop online ads from tracking internet users across the web.

With some new technology that will soon be implemented in Safari, Apple thinks it has found a way to give both advertisers and privacy advocates what they one. It’s called Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution and even though the name is lame, it could be a game changer.

The biggest problem Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution tries to solve is the ability for advertisers to track individuals and build up profiles on all the sites you visit to see how effective the ad was. Many internet users have opted for ad-blockers, but this prevents websites (like CultofMac.com) from making money. This poses quite a conundrum when you need to please both sides.

Safari ups its privacy game

Apple found a middle ground that still lets advertisers tell when someone clicked on an ad on one site and then bought something on another. But Apple is making it so that advertisers can’t identify those people individually.

Full details of how PPACC works were published on Apple’s WebKit blog. There’s a lot to go through but Apple points out a few key things that make it all possible. One of the biggest things is the new standard limits campaign IDs a company can use to just 64 instead of assigning unique tracking codes for each click. The limited number makes it much harder for advertisers to track you, but still shows ad clicks.

Another key factor is delaying when ad data is sent. Apple’s tech would randomly delay conversion data by up to two days and it would be sent through a dedicated private browsing window. All of this is done at the browser level. Apple already put the tech in the developer build of Safari Technology Preview 82. The tech will launch to the public later this year, and we might here a bit about it at Apple’s WWDC 2019 keynote on June 3.