Apple's WebKit team has published a "WebKit Tracking Prevention Policy" that details a range of anti-tracking measures it has developed and the types of tracking practices it believes are harmful to users.

webkit logo
Inspired by Mozilla's anti-tracking policy, the document posted to the WebKit blog provides an insight into the anti-tracking features built into Apple's Safari browser that the team hopes to see in all browsers one day.

This document describes the web tracking practices that WebKit believes, as a matter of policy, should be prevented by default by web browsers. These practices are harmful to users because they infringe on a user's privacy without giving users the ability to identify, understand, consent to, or control them.

Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in iOS 11 and in Safari 11 in macOS High Sierra 10.13 and has been working to develop ITP ever since. For example, in February Apple released iOS 12.2 and Safari 12.1 for macOS, both of which included ITP 2.1 featuring enhancements that block cross-site tracking.

The new WebKit policy highlights Apple's continuing efforts to target all forms of cross-site tracking behavior, even if it's in plain view.

WebKit will do its best to prevent all covert tracking, and all cross-site tracking (even when it’s not covert). These goals apply to all types of tracking listed above, as well as tracking techniques currently unknown to us.

If a particular tracking technique cannot be completely prevented without undue user harm, WebKit will limit the capability of using the technique. For example, limiting the time window for tracking or reducing the available bits of entropy — unique data points that may be used to identify a user or a user’s behavior.

In addition to cross-site tracking, the document outlines several other tracking practices it deems harmful to users, and says WebKit will treat circumvention of its anti-tracking measures "with the same seriousness as exploitation of security vulnerabilities."

If a party attempts to circumvent our tracking prevention methods, we may add additional restrictions without prior notice. These restrictions may apply universally; to algorithmically classified targets; or to specific parties engaging in circumvention.

For more on tracking definitions, the unintended impact of anti-tracking measures, and exceptions to the rules, check out the full WebKit Tracking Prevention Policy on the WebKit blog.

Top Rated Comments

Defthand Avatar
36 months ago
The logical way to thwart tracking/spying is to cut off network communication to the servers that collect data. I've been using Little Snitch on MacOS for years to do so. It's amazing how many servers and domains a typical app or website connect to. Some are necessary for core functions but a large number are for activities by undisclosed associates with covert motives. Little Snitch lets me deny network connections selectively to background requests. I've amassed a blacklist that is in the hundreds.

I don't mind ads. They're a necessary nuisance to fund the web services and content that we won't directly compensate. Therefore, I allow those entities whose known purpose is ad serving. It's the unknown purpose(s) and reputations of other tracking entities that I choose to undermine.

I mention this tool because it—or anything like it—are sorely needed on iOS devices.

Disclaimer: I am not an employee or spokesperson for Little Snitch. My endorsement is my own.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
decafjava Avatar
36 months ago
I will forever think Facebook is listening.
The other day I was TALKING to my friend on the couch how I want to wait with buying plane tickets until my boss approves the holidays so I don’t end up spending money on a ticket I won’t be able to use and literally 30 minutes later I open Instagram I get an ad about „how do I get my money back for an unused plane ticket? Find out more“
Press icon til wobbly - delete.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
36 months ago
Keep fighting the good fight Apple
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Defthand Avatar
36 months ago
There's a content-blocker interface in iOS Safari, and a bunch of content blocker apps that use this, including some that will let you add arbitrary sites/IPs. You could port your blacklist into one of these, but it wouldn't be simple.
To be clear, I'm not seeking to block content. Ad blockers do that. I'm more interested in blocking covert background activities that hog resources and don't reveal their purpose.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kasmador Avatar
36 months ago

I mention this tool because it—or anything like it—are sorely needed on iOS devices.
https://www.macrumors.com/2019/07/24/lockdown-firewall-app-privacy-protection/
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
36 months ago
Hey, I like that Safari icon better than the actual one.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
airpodsproinear

Apple Facing Lawsuit After AirPods Allegedly Ruptured Child's Eardrums With Amber Alert

Tuesday May 17, 2022 11:40 am PDT by
Apple's AirPods ruptured the eardrums of a 12-year-old boy in 2020 when a loud Amber Alert was issued, according to a lawsuit filed against Apple in California (via Law360). The child, identified as B.G. in the filing, was watching a movie on Netflix on his iPhone in 2020 while wearing AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro were allegedly set at a low volume, but an Amber Alert sounded without warning ...
apple store palo alto

Apple Reinstating Employee Mask Mandate at Approximately 100 U.S. Retail Stores

Tuesday May 17, 2022 11:11 am PDT by
Apple retail employees at around 100 stores will need to go back to wearing a mask while working, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple is mandating masks for employees again due to a rising number of COVID cases across the United States. Customers who visit an Apple Store are not required to wear a mask at this time, but Apple is continuing to recommend masks for all Apple Store...