Apple Does Right By Users And Advertisers Are Displeased

from EFF

With the new Safari 11 update, Apple takes an important step to protect your privacy, specifically how your browsing habits are tracked and shared with parties other than the sites you visit. In response, Apple is getting criticized by the advertising industry for “destroying the Internet’s economic model.” While the advertising industry is trying to shift the conversation to what they call the economic model of the Internet, the conversation must instead focus on the indiscriminate tracking of users and the violation of their privacy.

When you browse the web, you might think that your information only lives in the service you choose to visit. However, many sites load elements that share your data with third parties. First-party cookies are set by the domain you are visiting, allowing sites to recognize you from your previous visits but not to track you across other sites. For example, if you visit first examplemedia.com and then socialmedia.com, your visit would only be known to each site. In contrast, third-party cookies are those set by any other domains than the one you are visiting, and were created to circumvent the original design of cookies. In this case, when you would visit examplemedia.com and it loads tracker.socialmedia.com as well, socialmedia.com would be able to track you an all sites that you visit where its tracker is loaded.

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31 Responses to Apple Does Right By Users And Advertisers Are Displeased

  1. Chris O'Handley October 19, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

    Recently Apple released an update for Safari in which third parties (parties other than the sites you visit) can no longer track your internet activity. This sounds good but many people are having negative reactions and criticizing Apple for the update. Third parties like to track people’s internet activity in order to get an idea about the person’s likes and dislikes and then use that information to present various advertisements they think they might be interested in. By preventing them from tracking, Apple has been accused of “destroying the internet’s economic model”. This accusation although a bit of an overreaction does have some truth in it. In the past when third parties tracked your browsing history, numerous companies would be given the opportunity to bid for the chance to target you with a specific advertisement they believe you will be interested in based on your history. Apple’s new update presents a bit of a problem for this behind the scenes market, and puts small advertising companies not connected to a large publisher in a difficult situation. If other browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google chrome follow Apple’s lead, it could effectively put an end to these companies.. Obviously this is bad for advertisers and could pose problems for the online economy. Now, without the information about our most visited websites and our favorite places to eat and shop, many companies will have a hard time identifying their target audience and will be less willing to buy advertisements as a result. This could lead to a large number of websites raking in a significantly less amount of money. It is no secret that many websites make the majority of their money through ads. Now with that steady income stopped, we could see more websites require a paid subscription in order to gain access. We have already seen examples like this with Wikipedia and its pleas for people to donate to the site in order to keep it ad-free. With Apple’s latest update and other browsers likely to follow suit, this could become a more common thing and the amount of free access we have to sites could be limited. The question now is whether this is update is overall a good thing for us average internet users and the answer is yes. Obviously advertising is a huge part of making a successful business but that does not give an excuse for these companies to track our personal internet use. That is private information that should not be accessible to anyone that we do not consent. There is no problem with advertising, businesses can post as many advertisements as they want. They just cannot use our private information to try and determine what ads we will or won’t like. That being said I believe Apple made the right decision. Even though it is tough on advertisers the protection of users right should be a top priority. By passing this update, Apple has proved that it values the privacy of its users and I hope other browsers follow suit.

  2. Eric A October 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

    This article was very interesting and brought up some good points about our privacy on the internet. It focuses on Apple, who has been attempting to protect its users privacy for some time now, but also outlines how these protections don’t protect people from all types of cookies used to track them. These cookies allow advertisers to better tailor their ads to the person visiting the page, but what many people don’t know is that advertisers have to buy this data from the websites. Essentially, the website is selling your data (for profit) to advertisers, who in turn use it to try and sell you their product- all without you even realizing it. Ad agencies are upset with Apple for restricting this type of advertising for obvious reasons, but Apple has held that it is protecting its users.
    I’m glad to see that Apple is taking steps to limit the reach of advertisers and wish that other tech companies would do the same. Privacy in the tech age has been dwindling at a higher rate than any time in history, and although one cannot expect total privacy online, they shouldn’t have to worry about an unknown 3rd party accessing their data and selling it. There is also a darker side to all of this: hacking. If a hacker wanted to get a lot of information on a person, all they would have to do is hack one of these sites that uses third party cookies to track people and all of the sudden the hacker knows all of your browsing habits and sites you access regularly. This would make it much easier for them to figure out which sites you have accounts on and in turn leave you more vulnerable to attack. There are certainly other ways to do it, but not allowing these companies to obtain the data in the first place certainly wouldn’t hurt.

  3. Nicholas Kerins October 20, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    The role Apple has played in our generation is outstanding. It’s innovations and easy to use software has set a precedent on what technology should do. With a such large and impactful business there are bound to be problems. Security, privacy, and what apple can access about you from your devices has all come under scrutiny. Apples web browser is safari, and like most web browsers it tracks your history. The article “Apple does right by users and advertisers are displeased” By Andres Arrieta and Alan Toner explains the new update in iOS 11 that eliminates the function that third-party companies get your visited sites history. The main function of this was to use your most visited website history to then put ads in future searches to entice you to buy products and services. For example, if you visit nike.com often, before IOS eleven you would begin to see Nike ads when you check your email or watch YouTube videos. This seemed like a great innovation for advertising. Helping big companies reach their customers is always good for business.
    Where the problem came in was customers of apple products didn’t like seeing these kinds of ads pop up and would almost scare them. Personally, I also find it unsettling that third party companies can track my searches and then insert ads on my web pages. Even though there aren’t ill intentions when does advertising become tracking. That is the line apple looks to draw. Companies that used these third-party cookies to place ads on websites were infuriated by the new security system. But apple stuck to their mission and provided a new layer of security to stop companies from tracking their customers. This is one of the reasons that apple is so successful they are for the customer. If apple wanted to make more money by allowing the companies to buy our data they could. Apples encryption team and loyalty to customers made them chose the alternative. But they still allowed advertisers to market on their browser just not with the same power as before. There is only one other response to this article now and I fully agree with their point of view as well. They state that privacy on the internet is something no matter how technologically advanced we become as a society is something that should only be shared with consent. Reading articles like this make me feel confident in my apple products and online security overall.

  4. Jimmy Bedoya October 20, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    The right for every person to enjoy his/her own privacy has been exploited in many different ways throughout the evolution of America. Prior to terrorist activities, people of the United States were capable of basking in the comfort of their own privacy. Now Americans everywhere are surveilled closely for the “greater good”. The government can now watch whomever they want and whatever they want if the reason behind it is justifiable in the context of national safety. From fishing messages and tapping into your phone calls, to doing “random” body cavity searches at airports, there is no question that the privacy of many Americans is being breached on many levels. Though it is argued that these breaches are for the sake of American safety, now the exploitation of American privacy is being used for business purposes. Marketing strategies for many different corporations have taken the route to track an individual’s activity on many web browsers as well as all types of websites. The advertising strategy comes in the form of cookies; a package of data sent by a server to a browser used to identify the user or track his/her web history. Companies can now track who you are, track all the websites you visit and take note of what you search consistently, in an effort to suggest these products more effectively and increase their information on databases as well as their overall revenue.

    Combating the invasion of privacy by many different corporations, some browser developers have taken a step to limit the amount of tracking done for business use. Browser developers such as Brave, Opera, and Apple, have taken action in restricting these breaches of personal information. Apple blocking these third-party cookies since 2010, has played a key role in protecting the privacy of the user through its web browser, Safari. Advertising companies are criticizing Apple for “ruining the internet’s economic model”, and finding ways around the protection of user info and limitations set by web browsers. Companies like Criteo and Google have devised different ways to destabilize and/or workaround Safari’s protection in order to keep tracking users with their cookies. Now, with their new update on Safari, Apple has enhanced the protection of your internet’s privacy, as well as how your browsing habits are tracked and released to parties that you have never visited. Using Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Safari can now close loopholes around their third-party cookie blocking mechanism by identifying the sites a user has visited frequently and sites they never even thought of. Apple, handling 30% of the all-mobile browsing, has played a huge significance in protecting the rights of many individuals. I believe it is the time that many other browser developers (Mozilla, Microsoft, and Google) follow in the footsteps of Apple and help protect the user privacy. Though it is believed that user information can be vital in the economic growth of a business, morally speaking it is bad to invade someone of his or her personal life and habits. Considering the fact that people are surveilled and breached of their privacy for governmental use, Americans should start to fight for the protection of their information for business-related purposes. It is bad enough that personal information such as social securities, names, and addresses are being hacked at the hands of “powerful” companies like Equifax, so why risk disclosing, more, information if it is just going to harm the individual even worse? It is about time people started being treated as human beings with value again, instead of a statistical means of gaining revenue.

  5. Rebecca Hu October 20, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    With the recent update in Safari internet browser, Apple is trying to bring an improvement in our web browsing privacy. Although not everyone is favoring for that decision, especially the advertisement company claiming that it is “destroying the Internet’s economic model.” Which seems very interesting to me that, under the situation of profit and privacy. Profit is still a priority for business companies.
    Technology have changed our society and lifestyle dramatically, we are living in a different age. Information can be accessible everywhere with the help of internet. The mode of business have changed, advertisement were not only limited to paper, television or billboards. I believe with the recent popularity of mobile devices and internet, we have more advertisement than ever. Advertisements exist everywhere, on your personal social media, websites, and videos. It seems like we are being overloaded with advertisement. Often these advertisement are about products that you thought of buying or searched before. This is with the help of cookie, where our browsing information is being used for target advertising.
    I think Apple is doing great work on user protection. We have several incident recently the Russian hackers, political advertisement on Facebook and many more. It reveals that the current economic model for internet advertising is jeopardizing our society and privacy. This will be the trend of our future, where everything is digitalized which indicates that information can be accessed easily and vice versa. Information can get to you easily, advertising companies is using this behavior to market goods and services.
    We have strict regulations on advertisement on TV, newspaper, magazine and billboards. Yet, we don’t have a clear set of rules that regulate advertisement online. On newspaper we don’t see inappropriate advertisement for sexual services, yet we can see them on certain websites. Advertisement on the internet seems like a free world, where anyone can put up any information they want. Technology have advanced yet our thinking, regulation have not been keeping up with it. Businesses understand the values of customer data, it allows them to target advertise and to understand their logistics. It is something that was very time and energy consuming to have access to those information. Because the company would’ve done survey, experimenting different feedback with different advertisement. Now with the help of cookie, a third party tracker all those information can be collected and put into use for them to analyze their potential customer.
    I never thought that my browsing history can mean something to others. Recent years there seem to be continuous issue with internet privacy. Information can be accessed so easily and yet there are nothing the general public can really do about it. Not only having a cookie to tracking your personal browsing habits and history. Information we provided to companies such as Equifax, they are being hacked. Nothing is safe once we connect the data with internet. There is no such thing as total privacy once we are connected with internet. Technology is always a double edge sword, we can always argue that technology have improve our life majorly. It brought convince to our life, but in exchange we are losing protection to our personal data and information. Is this compromise worth it?
    I like how Apple is trying to address the issue that we should not allow our information, our privacy to be sold to other parties for data analysis. I think soon more and more people will be concern about their internet activity, more companies are going to address this issue. I personally when using Google Chrome, Incognito mode is the one I try to use when I manage my personal information because some of my information will not be saved. It is not the best solution, but I am sure that there will be more focus on this topic in the near future. Hope by that time we can reach a possible solution to this argument of profit over privacy.

  6. Valerie Dorsett October 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    Has technology been invading our privacy? Most people would agree that this statement is true. Over the years, especially with the help of social media we have been allowing our privacy to be stripped away on certain terms. People always post where they are and what they are doing, which is their decision to give up some privacy on their personal activities. However, some people do not realize when they are giving up some of their rights to privacy. Most of it is to increase advertising. Apple with its new update of IOS 11 is now trying to protect their users of their privacy.
    Most websites these days use cookies to track your browsing history. On any computer or device that uses the internet you are most likely being tracked. Cookies according to definition are, “little files hide in your computer so that your browser and websites can track your browsing sessions and save certain useful information, such as account names and passwords, for later retrieval,” which means that no matter what website you are on or what you do, it could be being tracked down. The article adds that most websites do use third party sources for tracking an individual’s information. This allows analytics services, data brokerages, and advertising companies to set unique cookies. Now this can bring up ads from a previous website that you were on. You may have been looking for new shoes made my Nike online. Now if you go on Facebook or any other website, on the side, you may see an ad for those shoes you looked at or for the Nike brand in general.
    Most people like Apple’s IOS because ever since 2010, Apple has been protecting their customers privacy rights online by blocking third-party cookies. Many businesses have been trying to find their way around this blockage. According to the article, even companies like Google had paid millions of dollars in order to track safari users. With safari’s new IOS 11 update with what they call, Intelligent Tracking Prevention, the article states that the program, “closes loopholes around third-party cookie-blocking by using machine learning to distinguish the sites a user has a relationship with from those they don’t, and treating the cookies differently based on that.” Even though there are companies who are not happy about this decision, I believe that most people are. It shows that the company cares more about their customers and their wants of privacy. For my family, and me there have been times where we have gone on any website like Amazon only for an ad to pop up later on Instagram or Facebook with the same product. Even though ad companies will be hit hard, I believe that this will make many people happy, which overcomes the companies fury because individuals will continue buying Apple Products because of privacy.
    Using cookies does help businesses with their data so they know what products are popular, what age group they are selling to and where the advertisements earn them the most revenue. However, this should not be more important than ones privacy rights. This should make other companies provide the same protections for their customers and should make advertising companies respect privacy and find different ways to get the information they want without tracking their customers every move online. Apple’s privacy policy does not eliminate all tracking but it does protect people against third-party cookies that pop up a lot. Hopefully, other companies will do the same.

  7. Arielle Fortes October 20, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

    People like to have privacy. They like to be alone and not be watched sometimes. No one likes to have their moves tracked all the time. However, the chance for anonymity becoming increasingly rare in this world. It is hard do to anything without having your moves tracked in a sense. For example, many people constantly keep their location on their phones are use the GPS on their phone to help them get to different places. Those people may or may not realize that wherever they decide to go with the GPS the data may be sent to a company that is monitoring what they are doing. However, this is not only meant for simple GPS and maps. Now there is more tracking on websites than ever before due to more sophisticated technology. Apple made a slightly different move.
    The internet is more complicated than people choose to believe. Now when many people go on websites they see a message that says that there are cookies on this site and do you accept the cookies of this site. Many people just click accept since they do not know what the website means by ‘cookies’. Cookies have always been used by websites and it was not until recently that there was a law made by that says that websites explicitly have to states that they are using cookies on their websites. So sometimes when you visit certain sites they send some of the data with third parties after your visit. There are certain different types of cookies that websites use. The first type of cookies are first-party cookies that are given by the domain that you are using that help sites to make sure that they can tell when you visit the site again since there is a certain data there that recognizes you after the first time that you visit. However, third party cookies are not as privacy helpful. Instead there is a certain invasion of privacy in these cookies. Third party cookies are set by a domain that is not the one that you are currently using but instead another one. And these can track you on many different sites where the tracker is located. So these cookies are use the third party cookies for mainly data purposes so that the companies can bid for the tight to serve ads to those people. Apple is doing something very different here and is blocking third party users on their form on the internet browser: Safari. This has actually been happening for a while. In 2010, Safari was blocking third party cookies in the default settings. Advertisers and the other companies who benefit from third party cookies were irritated by this and have been using different ways to get around it. These companies were ones like Google and Criteo. These two companies used certain loophole in the software to make sure they could get around this. It makes sense that these companies would be irritated since Apple is one of the huge phone companies and definitely cause a huge impact to these companies. However, now Safari is completing a new program that is called Intelligent Tracking Prevention the actually stops those loopholes. This will make a bigger impact than ever and small advertisers were lose more business. For a user of the internet we all know that the sites we usually use are not affected and only the third party cookies are. And this is a great plus for the users of the internet. I think that your privacy should be something that should be protected and it is great that Apple emphasizes that.

  8. Shemar Givens October 20, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    Growing up this topic has been one that has constantly popped up. We’re never have any privacy when trying to use the internet. The government controls everything in some type of way, which brings me back to the topic of the new face recognition with iPhone. This ability isn’t anything to trust either as I feel it’s just another way for these ‘third-parties” to track what we do without us having a sense of what’s going on. I’ve always questioned why the government operates like this and I try to look at the good and bad out of the situation. The bad just happens to outweigh my thoughts every time.

    Living in a country of free this and that, I feel that this is entirely unacceptable. There’s no reason that a young child is searching the web for whatever reason and it’s notified that there’s a third party watching their moves. For what? It makes absolutely no sense. Now where I will agree with this concept is only under one circumstance. That’s if what whomever is doing on the web may be harmful to others and suspicious then I can see why but just to have a third party watching you from behind a screen and you have no clue is nuts!

  9. Meghan Healy October 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

    I think it is safe to assume that the average American browses the Internet at least once every day, if it is not every hour. When we use the Internet, our search history is tracked in order to create targeted ads based on what we appear to like and have an interest in. Our browsing history is shared with other parties in order to generate these user-specific ads. I have lost count of the number of times where I have gone onto a store’s website, put a specific item in my cart, decide not to buy it, close the tab, and then open Instagram on my phone to see that the exact item is being advertised by the store or a similar company. Then again, why would I keep count of something that occurs almost every time I visit an online store? Even on two different devices, these ads are inescapable. That was until the new Safari 11 update, with Apple blocking ads that result from the examination of a user’s search history. Safari has apparently been blocking these third-party cookies since the release of Safari 5.1 in 2010. Seven years later, Apple is taking more steps to block these cookies.

    As the article states, “As a user, you should be able to expect you will be treated with respect and that your personal browsing habits will be protected. When websites share your behavior without your knowledge, that trust is broken.” In this day and age, it should be anticipated that trust would be broken when it comes to possession of our personal information. Websites with this custody would inevitably share it with the third-party cookies in order to create targeting ads.
    Apple has taken measures to give us a little more privacy and security in an almost secure less and public society. As a result, the advertising industry is criticizing Apple for making this change. Without their targeting ads popping up on every site, they would undoubtedly lose money. However, instead of admitting that the loss is their main concern, the advertising industry is claiming to worry about how Apple is destroying the economic model of the Internet. It comes as no surprise that companies would rather advertise at an expense of the user’s privacy; these parties exploit us to sell products.

    Some do not think twice when they see an ad for a product they were looking at a few websites ago. In contrast, others get creeped out by these ads and find it disturbing. These ads seem simple and innocent, but it shows how much we lack privacy when it comes to technology. The information and the sites we visit are recognized by first-party cookies and then given to third parties. These third parties take the information of what we do and the sites we visit and create an ad from it. Companies even “bid for the right to serve an ad to a user when they visit a page.”
    Some might see these ads as a form of mind control and manipulation. What else is being done to persuade us to make decisions such as purchasing an item? They also have people questioning whether the rest of our thoughts, especially when browsing the internet, are actually our own.

  10. Brian Ayoub October 20, 2017 at 8:33 pm #

    Sometimes when I shop online, after I have looked at products I move on to other websites to browse. On the side, ads will pop up that contain images of those exact products that I was looking at. In the beginning I thought, “wow, what a huge coincidence that the exact products I was looking at would pop up on another random website.” Then I caught on that for some reason it was consistently happening and that it was not a coincidence. Now, Safari has updated its browser to only have cookies last for 24 hours. That means sites visited regularly are not affected heavily, but sites that are not visited frequently will suffer. These sites that struggle to receive constant website traffic won’t be able promote their site exploiting cookies anymore. Of course this is a problem for the sites, however it is much better in terms of keeping people’s privacy in mind. I believe that these sites should transition into finding better ways of advertising such as the use of social media. Many companies and entrepreneurs find success in growing themselves through social media. In the music world currently, music labels are looking towards signing people with huge social media followings rather than just off of talent. Social media is the wave right now, and this is a huge opportunity for people and companies to adapt to the wave and start to transition. A company can stop using tracking tools like “Privacy Badger” and “EFF DNT Policy” and start to use social media websites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook to start promoting and growing their company in a way that does not invade peoples privacy. Although Apple may get some stick from these companies because they ruined their websites advertising models, I think it is very admirable that they took a step for the people. It is rare nowadays that companies focus on their consumers and not on the best ways to make money. This has bigger implications that just Apple and Safari. Other internet browsers like Firefox and Microsoft Edge may follow in Safari’s footsteps, which would help user’s privacy interests even further. When I visit websites, I was not aware that these websites collect information that can connect with each other. As a result, these websites can advertise on other websites. A good way to protect your internet browsing is consistently clearing your cookies and history. This way, your privacy will not be interfered with and these websites can not exploit your privacy. Another way is to use private or hidden browsing, found on Google Chrome and Safari. This way your browsing can not be tracked and you will be safe. Internet browsing is not the only way companies can track you. Any websites that ask you for permission to browse your photos, use your camera or microphone, or use your location are allowed to track you in ways that you are probably not aware of. This is why companies like Apple need to look out for the consumers, and not the companies that want to exploit the consumers privacy. This move by Apple is one in the right direction.

  11. Shiyun Ye October 20, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

    Apple, one of the biggest companies in the world in 2017, seems to be one of the only technology giants that is intent on keeping their users information private on the apps and platforms they create. A general rule of thumb is that if you have put it on the internet or have searched it on the internet, anyone else who is technologically gifted enough can find it. Companies have been taking advantage of how easy it is to track different people’s internet activity by using third party cookies. Cookies are essentially little ttrackers used by websites when someone is actively using their website. Cookies are usually relatively harmless, as websites originally just used them when people were currently on their website. However, third party cookies were created that allow companies and websites to scan your activity anywhere that cookie is loaded, which could be thousands of websites, effectively allowing them to track every second on internet history someone has. Privacy is one of the main luxuries many people have to sacrifice in order to use the internet, as it is so easy to track yourself and difficult to be fully secure, with the Equifax leaks, Target leaks, and much more. But the scary thing about third party cookies is that these are not criminals that are making these cookies, the people tracking average internet users are companies intent on gather as much information on as many people as possible, since in the technology age, knowledge is power. In spite of all of the potential money caught up in tracking people’s internet usage, Apple has been one of few companies to actively protect their users against third party cookies when users use Safari, Apple’s internet browser. Apple has long been a protector of privacy, as shown when they refused to create a backdoor for the FBI to get into iphones, as that backdoor would leave any iphone user vulnerable to hackers, even though they were heavily pressured by the FBI and the US government that have shown time and time again they do not give the faintest care about their citizens privacy. It is surprising a company as big as Apple is protecting its users as it is, as many other companies have been shown to quickly sell out their customer’s privacy for extra money. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon all do not make money off of products or anything like that, even Amazon that actually works on a deficit financially. Instead, they earn their money through the information they get from their vast amount of customers, selling that information to advertisers so that they can effectively advertise, all at the extent of their users privacy. This is why after going onto for example a makeup website, there will be many ads on completely unrelated web pages that all conveniently have makeup advertisements. In a tech world where so few companies actually care about the privacy of its paying users, it is reassuring to see a company as large as Apple take a stance against the selling of its customers secrets, instead choosing to take the moral high road.

  12. Sean F October 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    As a millennial, technology has been second nature to my generation. Computer classes were common to take in 2nd and 3rd grade, technology was just everywhere. As more time passed, the technology expanded exponentially in regards to Moore’s Law (microprocessors will double in processing capabilities every 18 months). Growing up it was difficult for our elders to teach us about the magnitude of technology because they were still learning it themselves. Neither of my parents were tech savvy, but still were able to instill the severity of posting/using the internet. By growing hand and hand with technology over the years, technology has molded around us, as we have molded around it. To keep up with the constant changes of the internet and what businesses are doing with personal data, someone would need to have a doctorate in the tech field. This leaves the average person nearly clueless to what their data is being used for. Everyone who is using the internet should know the effects of what certain websites are doing with our personal info, shouldn’t they?

    Apple’s latest update is just what the average person needs. The company is increasing user privacy by not allowing websites to take advantage of the user using third party cookies. Digital companies have stated that the latest update is potentially corrupting the Internet’s framework for companies that advertise through the methods that Apple has blocked. Are we as a society alright with allowing this information to be used for advertising? Amazon’s Alexa has grown in popularity and it would be challenging to find a home without one. People are constantly providing their personal information and behavior to Alexa, but when it comes to using the computer, it is okay? The more research I have put into this topic, the more scared and cautious I am about technology. So many products are now a touch-point for companies, being able to monitor the consumers purchasing behavior and information. Some people may not care about this at all stating something like, “Well I have nothing to hide, why does it matter to me”. Whenever I hear someone say something along these lines I always think of a quote from Edward Snowden, “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say”. Personally, I am very happy with Apple increasing the users’ protection and privacy. With technology changing every day, it is almost always a new precedent of what is to come. An entirely new industry has emerged, purely to buy and sell customers personal information and it is not the black market, this industry is entirely legal and that is the scary part.

  13. Jeremy Daniels October 21, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    The emergence and advancement of newer technologies will always dredge up the topic of privacy. The internet, in the eyes of businesses, is a treasure trove of user information, and essential to their marketing strategies. Regardless of whether or not the amount of information they collect is ethical, it still occurs. Web browsers are the most common enablers of such activities, followed by individual sites. Safari, Apple’s brainchild, has differentiated itself by providing more user privacy than its competitors. Safari uses Intelligent Tracking Prevention, closing loopholes around third-party cookie-blocking. Even Google is guilty of enabling third-party cookies, a fact that many people are not directly aware of.

    While I personally don’t have any Apple products, this article makes me reconsider my choice of web browser and devices. As a marketing major, I’m aware of how important cookies are to business models. They provide more accurate information than any survey or study. That being said, I’m still a consumer, and don’t enjoy knowing that my information is being fed into a real-time auction for who gets to advertise on sites I visit. User privacy is not something that should be brushed off for the sake of “the Internet’s economic model.”

  14. Jordan Aharon October 21, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    It is an interesting decision for LinkedIn to make this acquisition. LinkedIn, like most good companies, is trying to expand and improve their services. The CEO thinks that one way to incorporate Lynda with LinkedIn is by having it show on your profile page that you made a video for Lynda. I don’t think that’s the best way to utilize it. There are going to be far more consumers of Lynda than content creators. While I’m not saying it is a bad idea, LinkedIn should be focused more on Lynda’s consumers because it is a bigger market. One idea might be that after completing a video on Lynda, viewers have an option to take a test. If the viewer passes the test it could show up on their LinkedIn profile that they have some sort of certification in that field.
    I think it is great though that LinkedIn is investing a lot of money to improve themselves. As a user, improvements like these make me want to use LinkedIn more. Right now they are by far the biggest professional networking website. If LinkedIn decided to stagnate they would become more susceptible to new and possible better competition.

  15. Cristina O. October 23, 2017 at 12:42 am #

    This article made me smile. I can still remember the first time I saw targeted ads on my browser. I thought, “Wow, these guys are so smart! They know what I’m into!” Then my husband came and explained that they were tracking my browser history and just showing me something related to what I had already been looking at. That’s when those personalized targeted advertisements turned into something more sinister. Rather than being delighted at seeing something I was considering buying, I was annoyed by the persistence of it. After all, part of the beauty of shopping online is avoiding pushy salespeople in some instances. Some people do it for the anonymity. In both of these instances, your right to privacy is violated. And in some cases, your identity is sold to other services. Suddenly, you’re receiving confirmation emails for services you never signed up for or websites you never even visited. All of this because so many people make their money from advertising revenues. While I understand the economics of it, I don’t think it should come at the cost of one’s privacy. I think Apple was very smart in this decision. At a time when we seem to be unwittingly giving up more of our personal information, it’s good to see someone looking out for end users rather than exploiting them

  16. Lucas Nieves-Violet October 26, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    I remember not too long ago when snapchat and Instagram didn’t have ads. Just recently they started inserting them in people’s stories (snapchat), and on my feed (instagram). The thing that I hate the most about them is that it is set up in a way that we as the user’s either don’t notice them or companies hide the fact that it is indeed an add by simply labeling AD, at the bottom of the picture (snapchat). This fact is also noticeable in similar ways oninstagram.The ads that come up look like regular pictures and are set up so that one may think, it is one of your friends picture. Then again in tiny letters it states “advertisement”. On average Americans are exposed to 4000, to 10000 ads in one single day. This isn’t something to be considered lightly. The question that now remain is, Will websites who don’t support add ever stay that way ? Chances are they will most ;likely end up promoting ads in the future, for the simple reason that it’s a great income for company or site.

    Ads have become viruses to the internet they are everywhere and it has become almost impossible to get rid of them. Some websites even require users to turn off their adblock plugin in order to access their content. I make sure that my Adblock plug is always turned on, and trust me it has indeed made my internet experience way better. I am able to truly see what I want and only what I want. There are no pop ups or suggestion or “SALES” promotion of any cite. Although sometimes I am force stop turn it off for certain sites I do believe it is good progress. Before I used adblock it used to occur to me often that suggestions, or pictures of my cart from Ebay, Nordstrom or Macy’s for that matter would be labeled as an add in different websites that I would access. Most of the time the adds would say or indicate “Are you ready to check out” or “Supply very low” it was as if the companies were urging me to go back to there website and process the order through, they were telling me to spend money on items that were already in my cart, by promoting them as ads.

    While I can see why this update on Safari by Apple my not render advertising company and small websites very happy I think it is a good idea. Apple has always been a company to promote the benefit of the user’s first and that is why so many people like the brand, and company for that matter. I am excited by and interested by this update as it may also urge big companies and browser like google, firefox and internet explore to have a similar intake on the topic of ads and indeed reduce the cookie use of each advertisement or website company. I personally hate being tracked by anyone, that includes the NSA, and FBI but especially advertising company who sponsored the search on user’s through the use of cookies. While I do understand the anger of small websites and advertising company who are trying to promote themselves I believe that having a one on one internet interface with solely the user and platform is important. Apple’s initiative of filtering cookies of website is smart and should looked upon by other browsers as well.

  17. zonghaoli October 27, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    The problem of advertising on internet is that user data is tracked through browser history, cookies, and other ways. This system uses user data and gives advertisements based on the user’s preference known by analyzing browser history and cookies. Much of this is done without the user knowing, which is likely why this is still continuing – if users know that they are being targeted, many would likely protest in some form. However, there is not much recourse aside from simply not surfing the internet, using more expertise methods, or Apple’s Safari 11 browser.
    Luckily for people who still want to surf the internet yet do not have much expertise in other more specialized methods like the tor browser, there is still the Apple Safari 11. Apple Safari 11 protects consumer privacy by using Intelligent Tracking Prevention to prevent how parties other than the one you are visiting track your browsing habits. This is a great step in protecting the user as the internet seems to become more and more important in our lives. Many of the online novelties are gaining legitimacy such as the rise of esports, new additions of internet “meme” course at Brown University, and of course, the rise of e-commerce and internet giant Amazon. There is also the increasing importance put on the internet with discussions about net neutrality and the issue of censorship.
    With the above examples, our lives are more and more integrated with the internet, and therefore, it is important to protect privacy online, much like how one’s privacy in one’s home is very important. One example of how internet privacy can be important is that if parties utilize user patterns to target certain advertisements, susceptible users may be in danger. The danger may be less for users who have the mental capacity to decide for themselves such as adults, but for users who do not have the mental capacity such as children or old people, such methods of advertisement is very dangerous and exploitative. Children especially can be vulnerable to advertisements that target their preferences, and do not have the mental capacity to understand the consequences and what exactly they got themselves into. For example, Apple’s in-app game charges caused Doug Crossan’s son to rack up £3,700 on ingame items. Although Crossan describes his son as “studious, polite, and sensible,” this still happened because the line between internet and life is blurred. In an interview, Crossan added “They think it is virtual money in a fantasy land and it is real money coming off my credit card.”
    The incident with Crossan highlights potential problems with internet advertisements and consumer exploitation. Although the “internet’s economic model” may have always gathered and used user data to put up advertisements, it should be said that we should never take any current situation as “good” even if it may be the “normal.” We should always strive to do our best to preserve justice, and always question what may be suspiciously unjust. As people who have the mental capacity to make the right decisions, we should protect the vulnerable and susceptible people who don’t have the mental capacity to do so because we can.

  18. Gabriel Gonzales October 28, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    I feel that Apple is taking a huge stand to ensure privacy for its users. It is hard to imagine an “economic model” that involves constant tracking of users’ movements in hopes to drop an ad or widget about StateFarm insurance or Windex. They are called cookies for a reason, even though they are first party, doesn’t mean it is out of the question that somehow a third party obtains this information. Cookies essentially leave a trail of what domains/sites you have visited. It is easy enough for companies to track what sites you are interested in. This is exemplified well in the fact that sites such as Amazon have recommendation tabs you could check out whenever you happen to make a purchase. It says something to the tune of, “buyers who bought this product also bought,” something or another. The point is that information is gathered constantly. Cookies happen to be one most internet users don’t enjoy having shared. It feels as if your internet searching should be private, and as an avid internet user, I feel they should. That being said, privacy is not a constitutional right. More often than not, right to privacy is misconstrued as a constitutional right, well as clarification, privacy is inferred as a right it is not clearly stated in the constitution. That entails the problem.

    People feel that the internet is almost like going out in public, it is a vast yet unpredictable place, where anything could happen. It has always been felt that there should be more done in terms of internet safety. For the most part, the justice system has done an adequate job keeping up with technological advances, especially with regards to the internet, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect. The “cyberlaw” made to combat internet injustice really only emphasizes the commercial aspect of the internet. It doesn’t go into fairer detail about things such as internet hacking or privacy just because on a case by case basis, it is a difficult call to regulate and enforce those types of laws. In regards to hacking, even if there were more stringent laws against hacking, how would you be able to enforce them. The internet is a vast maze of information where it is easy enough to be hidden if one intended to. We can’t possibly indict a computer can we?

    I feel Apple’s initiative to protect browsing privacy is a tremendous move on their part in terms of protecting consumers. I’m sure the advertising industry is furious. Not being able to pinpoint to the last detail what users are “interested” in leaves a big impact on how advertising, in terms of iOS is concerned, will be from here on out. Not being able to consistently give the user what “they” want will leave much to be desired in terms of online ads. They essentially have to go back to the drawing board, and it is on them to attract consumers to their sites.

  19. Juliana Martinez October 31, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    As technology improves and becomes more accessible to everyone, the amount of privacy we have decreases. Within the growing media industry, alone, the amount of advertisement opportunities has skyrocketed, and has been extremely noticeable within social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. This trend has also been increasingly noticeable within regular websites which have contributed average of 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements seen by the American population every day. Now a days having an ad-block software system seat up on a laptop is not enough, so the fact that Apple has taken this initiative to help protect the privacy of its users it great. Although the advertising industry has criticized Apple, only 12.5% of the worldwide population uses iPhones, compared to the 86.8% of worldwide Android users. This means that the impact on the overall advisement industries is not as detrimental as made out to seem.
    The only thing the advertisement industry has to truly fear is the trend of disabling third-party cookies Apple has crated. More and more websites today will show a pop-up screen asking users if they would like ads to be shown or not. Other web pages such Firefox and Google Chrome have also started their rout to disabling third-party cookies that will impact more users and more companies that advertise through the web. Since neither Firefox nor Google Chrome are relative to the brand of technology a user owns, the disabling of third-party cookies by them will have a much bigger impact on the rates at which advertisements reach users.

    http://www.redcrowmarketing.com/2015/09/10/many-ads-see-one-day/
    https://www.quora.com/What-percentage-of-the-global-population-uses-an-iPhone
    https://www.cnet.com/how-to/disable-third-party-cookies-in-ie-firefox-and-google-chrome/

  20. Rubi Leyva-Rodriguez November 3, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    The new Safari 11 update brings about a major change in web browsing by recognizing and blocking unwanted third-party cookies from tracking your browsing behaviors. The article explains how it is exactly Apple is able to do this, “When you visit a site, any cookies that are set can be used in a third-party context for twenty-four hours. During the first twenty-four hours the third-party cookies can be used to track the user, but afterward can only be used to login and not to track. This means that sites that you visit regularly are not significantly affected.”

    In terms of marketing, this Safari update makes perfect sense. Websites that one regularly visits should retain the right to market and advertise to that user, as he or she has willingly demonstrated that he or she is part of the target market. In this way, what Apple has deemed to be an existent relationship between user and website is streamlined directly to the user and everything else that the user did not want to see falls to the wayside. I don’t believe that this move is “destroying the Internet’s economic model.” In fact, I believe this update is exemplifying why the Internet has become the entity it has become. The Internet puts the choice of what one wants to be surrounded by in the hands of the user. No internet browser enjoys sifting through useless spam and clickbait, and on top of that, often they serve no other purpose other than collecting personal information and redistributing that information for profit.

    In a lot of ways, this move really shows what kind of business Apple really is. It was a longtime vision of the late Steve Jobs to develop the ultimate customer experience and this is one example where Apple is bringing that vision into action, as they’ve always done. By keeping the customers in mind, whether it be privacy or browsing experience, Apple will continue to earn their trust and loyalty and prosper as a company.

  21. Isabel Grullon Ramirez November 6, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

    n the era where the use of the internet has become a norm, the question begs to be asked, is there anything such as privacy anymore? While apple is trying to protect its customers privacy, advertisers seem displeased with this decision. The article brings up a rather good point, “ rather than attacking Apple for serving their users, the advertising industry to change direction and develop advertising models that respect users.” Websites track and share individuals online behaviors and trends, however most people are unaware of this.

    Advertisers have through the years become more ruthless with their practices. While ad-block software has worked in the past, advertisers have found ways to circumvent it and target customers by tracking their behavior online. Apple with its intelligent tracking prevention has aimed to close the loopholes around third party cookies in order to maintain its customers privacy. Although it is not 100% effective, it gives more peace of mind to its users. The privacy of individuals should be key for advertisers and should be a line that is not crossed.

  22. Matt Resende November 6, 2017 at 11:54 pm #

    Privacy has been a hot button topic in the technology world for some time now. Earlier this year, Congress voted on allowing internet service providers to gain access to our browsing history and habits for their personal use and to sell to other companies. This may seem wrong, but unfortunately it is the world we live in today. Anything we do on the internet gets recorded, monitored, or tracked so other companies can find ways to make money off of us. What Apple has done with the third-party cookie blocker makes the everyday Apple product user feel a sense of security and safeness while using their products. They are being criticized for “destroying the internet’s economic business model” by the advertising industry. This business model is one that relies on the internet user to develop data by surfing the web for the advertisers to use for their personal gain. This process is legal and can be argued that it is needed to create ads to get people to buy products. It is how the internet works. Although, why does it have to be at the expense of people’s privacy? At no point have we given these industries the right to use what we do on the internet for the gain of others. What Apple does with blocking these third-party cookies makes them a trusted company with its users. As the article says, Apple protecting its users should not result in them being attacked, but should result in the advertising industry to shift course and find a different way to reach its audience. Apple is merely protecting the people that pay them money each year for their products.

  23. Charles Carretti November 8, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    Apple has been a supporter and defender of digital user privacy for a long stretch of the corporation’s lifespan. Their continued effort to decrease tracked advertising from website to website in Safari 11 has been a pertinent point of discussion for advertising publishers who believe Apple’s attempts to protect user privacy is a direct blow to the economic model of the internet. In a nutshell, every website you visit likely does not only load the website you are viewing, but behind the curtain it is also attaching your browsing habits to a tracker that can, in its most innocent form, personalize the ads you see to potentially help you find a product/service you want or need. In its most malevolent form, the tracker can be used to potentially help all your personal information be sold and bought on the deep web, similar to the bidding system ad publishers use on the surface web.

    I am surprised that this article makes a point to mention Apple’s long-standing effort to process user data on the device rather than the cloud, but does not mention the latest FaceID feature of the iPhone X which operates on that same principle. The author delivers a good point in their defense of Apple when they say the ad publishers are “shift(ing) the conversation” rather than admitting their practices of tracking user data is questionable in its potential to completely crumble someone’s privacy. I personally do not mind my internet viewing habits being tracked as long as it is used for only the innocent form I mentioned instead of the malicious form. Not all tracking needs to be stopped, but ad publishers should assume some responsibility improving their trust between them and users, taking a page from Apple.

  24. DC November 10, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

    Apple’s new update is a great stride for consumer’s privacy. By blocking third party cookies, consumer’s privacy will be protected from many advertising companies. Apple had already introduced a third-party cookie blocking security system 7 years ago, however advertising companies have found their way around this system and managed to track users search history. With the advancement of machine learning, this new security system should prevent advertising companies from being able to track consumers. This may hinder the ability of smaller companies to keep up with bigger companies. Companies may now have to rely on traditional advertising methods through commercials or billboards. Smaller companies may not have the money to fund this kind of advertising and may struggle gaining the public’s attention.
    It will be interesting to see the impact this update has on the online shopping market. Most online shoppers are happy about this update as online advertisements often annoy and distract consumers. They have become so common that people tend to dismiss these advertisements and pay little attention to them. Consumers will still be able to find anything they are interested but will now do so free of distracting advertisements. People tend to show loyalty to the companies they shop at and ignore the adds attempting to retarget them. Removal of these adds through apple’s new update therefore may not have as big of a consequence on the companies attempting to retarget consumers. Perhaps this update will lead to advertising companies developing new technology to bypass this update as they did 7 years ago. This may result in advertising companies investing more in machine learning and hiring people with that type of knowledge. It will be interesting to observe the consequences of this update over the next few years.

  25. Anthony Arneth November 11, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    I think what we are seeing here is a company who values the consumer more than the idea of making money. When it comes to apple products the idea of the high price point is that you are getting the most bang for your buck, not only great hardware but protection. I feel apple as of late has really stepped up to the plate when it comes to privacy. For those who remember apple turned down the FBI when asked to allow them inside someone’s phone to help a case and also for them to track certain phones. Apple did not allow that to happen. This new age of technology is all about getting the product to the consumer and by cutting of the cookies to these companies, Apple is not selling your data. It is refreshing to see a company choose life over money in the sense they are treating you the consumer as a person not dollar signs where they sell your data.
    Many companies are upset with the stance apple has taken because it makes pushing their product onto you even harder. Although there are plenty of ways for you too see their product, shopping online, and mobile internet surfing is the trend. Some people do not even have laptops because their phone replaces it. With apple stance on this topic it does hurt the companies but your data is more important. What you are interested in or going through is no one’s business but your own, Bravo to apple and putting the people first

  26. TraceeF November 11, 2017 at 7:14 pm #

    In the society that we live in today privacy is a thing of the past. Advertising companies have access to way more than most people know. These companies use algorithms and many other statistical tools in order to calculate buying habits. Many consumers don’t see a problem in this, but the lack of privacy users have make it easier for consumers to become susceptible to identity theft and many other dangers. Apple has decided to help lessen the probability of having the safety of their consumers jeopardized by creating a new update. Apple usually does a very good job at protecting its consumers, they have a lot of built in software that fight against viruses in their products and they are constantly adding new security features to their products, Apple has even created software to protect against theft.
    Because of Apple’s decision to protect the privacy of their customers many companies are not happy with them. Invading the privacy of consumers has been a very effective way for companies to advertise. The loss of this ability will not only affect their companies, but it will affect the retail market in it’s entirety. I believe the impact will hit online shopping the hardest because many stores that only exist online will have lost a major part of their market.

  27. Vincent Scorese December 8, 2017 at 9:30 pm #

    This is a very pleasing article to read in the fact that it involved me directly with the fact that I use an IPhone and use safari to do most of my mobile searching needs. It is also very nice to see a company who isn’t into the business end of information sharing and is into protecting its users and their privacy more. This makes me have more found confidence in the company and what it does with its products. With the increasingly less amount of privacy we have in the world today it is refreshing to see glimmers of hope where there is a bright spot on the subject.
    The advertising companies are greedy and need to take a step back on some of these subjects because public opinion is shaping towards dislike of the lessened privacy and advertising companies are the primary driving force towards it.

    Also, apple has been known for the protection of its users as they are constantly pressured to release the encryption on IPhone however they constantly proceed to fight that and maintain the soundness of the Apple community which is also smart because it leads to a strong customer morale and increased sales and morale with the company.

    Other web browsers like Mozilla or even chrome may follow apples footsteps in the way they are protecting those web services and this in effect could put a major hit on the advertising companies and in some instances, would end certain companies in that field. That wouldn’t be the worst thing that happened and the economy in my opinion would just shift its online economic model from advertising to something else and would still stay well afloat.

    The fact is that we are the products that these companies are trying to use to make money off of us and we receive no compensation or anything for it so that is just wrongful and should end. There is nothing wrong with advertising to customers has this happens in every aspect of the business world however using private info that wrongfully is being shared is the problem and we will see the companies we use address the situation in different ways and hopefully most follow that of apple to protect against the unfair practices of advertising companies.

  28. Antonio Chirichiello February 2, 2018 at 8:35 pm #

    The internet’s economic model is in favor of one party while comprising, the rights of another party. A consumer’s web browsing activities are being tracked by, the advertising companies without our consent. These advertising companies are willing to violate people’s privacy’s, so they can profit with our data. The article says that the company Apple incorporated is taking the initiative to protect their customer’s privacy, while receiving back lash from the advertising industry. I do not believe that Apple is destroying the internet economic model that advertising companies are following because, the model is unethical. In my opinion if you have to make money on a consumer’s data without their knowledge then, it is immoral.

    Apple incorporated understands the importance of customer relationship and, they have been taking steps to ensure that goal. The new Safari 11 update is proof that, Apple Incorporated did indeed stick by their promise to prevent third party tracking. The company is determined to provide, a secure service without been tracked while using a web browser. In the article it says, they have been innovating Safari 11 every year, to find new methods to detected tracking cookies. As a consumer who owns an Android phone, I hope google will follow in their footsteps and innovate, the Google Chrome web browser. The Chrome browser needs an update to detect third party cookies.

    I do not own an Apple product but, after reading how they are trying to protect their consumer’s privacy, I would own one today. It is stated in the article that these third-party cookies track our activity and, then get sold at auctions. It is terribly upsetting to me because, someone’s privacy is not worth money and is, a violation to our rights. It is also unethical that, they are trying to find new methods around the safari 11 update. These loopholes may be legal but, it is immoral for advertising companies to spy on consumers, at their expense. I hope other companies in the communications industry will follow in the footsteps of Apple to ensure their customer’s privacy is not being violated.

    In conclusion, I hope to see more companies in the communications sector create updates for their web browser that find third party cookies. I am surprised that Apple is the only company in the communications industry to react on their consumer privacy’s being violated. If they do not take the initiative to ensure their consumers that their privacy is not being violated, then they may loose a substantial amount of business. I feel that Apple is devoted to customer satisfaction and that differentiates them from their competition. As a consumer who uses Android products which is Apple Incorporated’s competition in the communications industry, I may switch to Apple.

  29. Lauren Woodward February 8, 2018 at 12:37 am #

    In this generation, it is almost guaranteed that the privacy we are supposedly granted as individuals is non-existent to technology advancements. As an Apple user myself, on the iPad, iPhone, and MacBook, I think Apple’s movement to protecting users privacy is an extraordinary action for Safari users. However, this step also highlights the inconsistencies with numerous other searching apparatuses and the use of data collected. Although most don’t realize the invasion of privacy that technology has allowed in recent years, the use of cookies to track individuals brings up important legal and moral issues for technology use and their respective companies.
    The immoral use of our data to profit advertising companies not only violates privacy, but also robs individuals of payment from companies using their data. If some company is taking my data and getting paid for it, I would want some part of the profit; but more importantly, for my privacy to be kept. On the opposing side of this situation, it is argued that the protection Apple is providing in their new update will have a substantial effect on the inter-web economics of advertisements. While this may be true, I believe there has to be other ways of bringing in money rather than breaking the trust of device-user agreement. Not everyone is a technology buff, and therefore many are tricked into continuing with these schemes that cookies are achieving. The idea of first and third party cookies is still quite shaky to me, but I know that tracking and privacy invasion cannot be award-winning terms in this article. Individuals, like myself, find trouble when their use of technology gets uncontrollable by big companies preying off their lack of knowledge pertaining to the issue.
    Other than the obvious, this situation brings up an interesting role of Apple. By them fighting for their users and their privacy, Apple is stepping into a very desirable position in society, besides its popularity by devices to begin with. Whether Apple really cares for their user privacy or were simply trying to seem more attractive to individuals, they played the right card. I believe that this action by the multibillion-dollar technology company will bring in more traffic for their consumers, a higher approval rating by users, and a better trust will be developed in the face of advertisements and tracking. In addition, the update to the Safari app will hopefully lead to other search apparatuses to protect against tracking, and will ultimately help technology users across the United States.

  30. Ryan Mack February 9, 2018 at 7:29 pm #

    In the age of electronic technology and internet growth, comes the increasing concern for user privacy. User specific information being tracked by companies providing the services, by the government, and even by advertising companies are at the center of the controversy surrounding user privacy. Apple has established an image of themselves as strong supporters of user privacy through their encouragement of encryption, intelligent and secure processing of user data on their physical device as opposed to in the cloud, and restrictions on ad tracking on both their mobile and desktop/laptop platforms. With the release of Safari 11, Apple made a move favorable to most consumers to protect their privacy. They’re criticized by advertising companies for destroying what they call the economic model of the internet, however, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Apple, as well as many users, feel that the conversation should concentrate on the random and unchecked tracking of customers. If you’ve ever been browsing the internet and maybe clicked a video, checked your email, or was shopping on some company’s website only to see an advertisement for whatever you were looking at on your Facebook or Instagram feed, then you’ve been a subject of target or personalized advertising. For example, around the time I had first discovered target advertising, I had been on Nike’s website purchasing sneakers and a shirt in addition to browsing other products only to find an advertisement on my Facebook news feed for the same exact products. When you visit a website, you may be under the impression that your information and whatever you did on the website remains only with the web service you accessed; however, contrary to popular belief often times your information is shared with third party companies via embedded elements within the webpage you visited. This is achieved through the utilization of cookies-small files saved on your computer that record information about your browsing habits. There are two kinds of cookies: first party cookies, which are set by the website you’re visiting and allows them to identify you from previous visits but is not shared with anyone else; and third-party cookies, which are generated by any other domain or web service than the one you’re on. The information collected in these cookies is next sold to advertising companies for a chance to target you with additional advertisements for the same product or service you viewed. Apple has developed a way to combat non-consensual and surreptitious tracking in the release of a new Safari update containing Intelligent Tracking Prevention which uses machine learning to differentiate between sites a user has a relationship with and with ones a user doesn’t and subsequently decides how to treats the cookies based off that information. As someone who is a relatively frequent user and consumer of Apple products and services I’m keen on the fact that Apple is stepping up and setting a model that supports user privacy and I agree with the EFF that a successful business model on the internet should not come at the expense of users’ privacy.

  31. Jessica Williams February 23, 2018 at 11:59 am #

    Apple’s actions in aiding the preservation of privacy for its users while browsing the internet on Safari is an incredible way to counteract the issue regarding online privacy in the advertisement industry. While the tech giant is under fire for “destroying the internet’s economic model,” what should really be addressed is why stalking and the invasion of privacy constitute the basis for online advertisement.

    The article details how these third-party companies track an individual’s online presence through the use of cookies, as third-party cookies are sent from other domains to an individual’s computer to track him or her on all the other websites that the tracker may also be located in. Companies use this to bid for the right to display an ad to an individual when they visit a page, or they could also “retarget” users by buying the ad space to retarget a user later, after they have viewed or purchased a product from a vendor.

    While Safari has been able to block these third-party cookies, certain organizations have still been able to find loopholes and continue to track users through the use of specific techniques. Safari’s new update, the Intelligent Tracking Prevention system, uses machine learning to identify the relationships a user may have with the websites they visit. When an individual visits a site, cookies can be used for a third-party for up to 24 hours, and when that time frame has terminated, the cookies can only be used to log in, and not to track, which prevents smaller ad companies from tracking that individual’s presence on other sites.

    As someone who generally does not like Apple products, I am pleased to hear that the tech company is continuing to implement software to protect their users from privacy infringement. Personally, it is the updates such as this that need to be expanded upon in their technology, while other software such as the animated emojis is amusing, but ultimately useless. However, the reactions following this update displays a more disturbing mindset in the advertisement industry. Although it helps increase revenue, there are ethical questions raised by this method of advertising, as disregarding a user’s basic right to privacy insinuates that the individual is not viewed as a human, but a statistic or form of revenue. Companies that participate in this form of advertising should be penalized, however, it is unfortunately so widespread that it may be difficult to act upon in the near future. For now, users should utilize software such as Apple’s new Safari update to ensure that they are not monitored while browsing the internet.

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