Once again flying solo, Simo Ahava discusses the phenomenon known as browser tracking protections in this short but topical episode.
Tracking protections are designed to prevent sites from tracking you – especially across the web but increasingly also while you are browsing the site itself.
The mechanisms deployed by browsers to tackle the problem of “tracking” (a loosely defined concept if there ever was one) are often quite brutish, resulting in web compatibility issues as well as limiting legitimate use cases for browser storage access.
Simo walks you through the difficult mess that tracking protections are, focusing mainly on Apple but devoting time to the other three browsers that also deploy tracking protection features. He also devotes some time to the one major browser that does not deploy any tracking protections at this time.
Listen to the episode using the player or find it in your favorite podcast service.
- 00:00:00 – Introduction
- 00:04:18 – Defining “browser tracking protections”.
- 00:07:39 – Apple/WebKit tracking protection mechanism (Intelligent Tracking Prevention, or ITP).
- 00:08:20 – What are cookies?
- 00:11:37 – Apple’s tracking protections cover more than just cookies.
- 00:12:05 – ITP reduces the capability of first-party storage too.
- 00:13:24 – CNAME / DNS cloaking mitigations in ITP.
- 00:14:12 – Tracking protections in Brave, Firefox, and Edge.
- 00:15:35 – Brave’s tracking protections in detail.
- 00:16:45 – Google Chrome’s lack of tracking protections.
- 00:17:37 – Privacy Sandbox in Google Chrome.
- 00:19:17 – What’s cooking in the near future?
- 00:20:53 – Could server-side be the answer?
- 00:21:31 – Three recommendations going forward.
Notes and references
- WebKit blog: Intelligent Tracking Prevention
- WebKit blog: Full Third-Party Cookie Blocking and More
- Tracking Prevention In WebKit
- WebKit blog: Introducing Storage Access API
- WebKit blog: CNAME Cloaking and Bounce Tracking Defense
- WebKit blog: Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.1
- TMH #2: Ad Blockers with Pete Snyder
- Improving Tracking Prevention In Microsoft Edge
- Privacy Sandbox
- Google’s Consent Mode