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WWDC 2018: Apple puts privacy buttons in Safari amid Facebook spat

07 June, 2018, 17:15 | Author: Joanna Little
  • Analyst Ming Chi Kuo predicts that Apple may release these three iPhones.                  MacRumors

In software updates later this year, Apple's default Safari web browser will show a pop-up window asking users for permission before loading "share" buttons from social networks including Facebook.

"What we did was we integrated the ability to share in the operating system, make it simple to share a photo and that sort of thing. Well it turns out these can be used to track you, whether you click on them or not", Federighi said. "So this year, we are shutting them down".

Toward the tail end of a more than two-hour Apple presentation to software developers, the company announced changes to its Safari web browsers that - assuming they remain unchanged and function as Apple sketched out - seem set to seriously hamper Facebook's contentious data-harvesting practices, and those of many other internet companies that count on following people as they roam around the web. They also requested that Apple convene a panel to study the issue.

Federighi did not name Facebook during his speech, but he did use the social media giant as an example when he shared a screenshot of the new Safari feature in action.

The features follow a feature Apple built into Safari a year ago that limits the ability of data brokers to track Safari users' online movements across different sites as they surfed the web.

More news: Socialist Party Leader Sworn In As Spain's New Prime Minister

"I am concerned. that Apple is falling further behind Google and Amazon in AI (artificial intelligence)", said GlobalData research director Avi Greengart in a tweet. They have some services. These new systems have features created to prevent the usage of secret trackers with which users' online activities can be monitored.

Elsewhere, Cook told CNN that governments needed to step in and regulate tech firms, because "this privacy thing has gotten totally out of control".

Current Apple CEO Tim Cook has returned to this theme in recent months as Facebook has come under fire for its collection of a huge amount of user data and its failure to protect that data from abuse by third parties - most notably Cambridge Analytica. And in demonstrating App Limits, the app that got cut off was Instagram, which Facebook owns.

Apple's software-focused event on Monday was a momentous moment - for Facebook Inc. "We may not even recognize how distracted we've become". Unlike those and other tech giants, Apple isn't dependent on advertising, instead getting the almost all of its revenue from sales of devices and related services. Apple removed those features for all four companies with iOS 11 past year.

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