Aldo Agostinelli

Repetitive advertising can turn into a boomerang, especially if it targets users who already own or employ the advertised goods or services. Apple has realized this and has also designed a system aimed at preventing Ad from spying and stalking its customers.
The basic concept is easy to understand: if you have already bought a car or you have just visited an online shoe store, you will find the continuous flow of banners advertising them quite annoying.

Therefore, experts in Cupertino have decided to take action to protect their customers’ privacy. Read it in Italian

During the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Craig Federighi, Senior  Vice President of the software department, premièred a new function designed for Safari, Apple internet browser, which can block advs. We are talking about a system, distributed along with a few system updates, called intelligent tracking prevention.
It employs a machine learning technology to enhance the trackers block and prevent the uploading and visualization of useless and repetitive Ads, based on our virtual habits. Basically, it is a preventive and smart monitoring system.

According to Apple, the ads monitoring technology has become so invasive that some advertisers can actually recreate users’ whole web chronology. Federighi explained: <<Safari exploits the machine learning technology to identify trackers and isolate cross-sites scripting data; this way, the user’s chronology is protected and private >> (Apple adds ad tracker blocker to desktop Safari).

However, while Mac OS and iOS users are celebrating the reduction of the power of monitoring systems applied to their online activities, advertisers are actually less happy. To the point that a group of advertisers and digital marketing agencies has written an open letter blaming the company for having unfairly used its supremacy to hinder a whole sector of the advertising business, which has already been facing the action of Facebook and Google which have been slashing over 90 % of each dollar invested in digital advertising (Advertisers are furious with Apple for new tracking restrictions in Safari 11).

Nevertheless, Cupertino operates a distinction between first hand and third parties’ cookies, and its systems target only the latter, since they unlawfully collect data and use them for re-targeting ads, so to follow and spy users’ surfing habits. Answering criticisms, Apple pointed out that its intelligent tracking prevention system doesn’t stop Ads and doesn’t interfere with lawful monitoring processes on websites visited by users: Ads published by web publishers are correctly visualized.

The issue is complex and multifaceted, and both sides have got reasonable arguments to put forward. Thus, we wonder: will Facebook and Google take advantage of this fight?

What is your opinion about this matter? Is Apple doing the right thing by protecting its users or is it risking to favour Facebook and Google? Tweet @agostinellialdo.

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Aldo Agostinelli