The practice of fingerprinting your browsing behavior by tech giants isn’t new. However, Apple now seems to offer a lifeline. The update not only prevents browser fingerprinting but also ditches Facebook data tracking.
What Is Browser Fingerprinting?
In layman terms, it is the concept of tracking what you do online, and how you do it. Your browsing and search history, your social media activities, and everything for which you use the internet is being tracked.
The data commonly included in a fingerprint includes your browser type, browser plugins, IP address, operating system, hardware information, software versions, your location, date and time of accessing the internet, cookies, and any other information which a browser may offer. Though fingerprinting does not actually include any uniquely identifiable data, it is however easy to make up a recognizable database by sorting all this information and relating it to your personal data which may be collected at any time.
Facebook, Google, and other such companies remain particularly interested in collecting activity behaviour patterns. Apparently, these details help them to provide the most relevant ads and suggestions to you. However, you never know who else might be looking at the data.
Apple Safari Serves As An Obstacle In Fingerprinting
Browsing through Apple Safari is now much more secure and private with iOS 12. This browser not only limits data tracking by Facebook, but also hinders other sites from collecting information about your IP address, browser type, operating system, and additional information, unlike other browsers. Safari will hide the uniqueness of your computer, and will only transmit some basic information, such as system fonts.
According to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering at Apple, they have made it ‘harder to track’ users’ data.
“With Mojave, we are making it much harder for trackers to create a unique fingerprint. As a result, your Mac will look more like everyone else’s Mac, and it will be dramatically more difficult for data companies to uniquely identify your device and track you.”
Only time will tell if it works.