Apple blocks Google Analytics or did they?

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Apple in its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote announced a new privacy policy that could potentially block Google Analytics from tracking user data on Safari their Web browser. Google Analytics provides important data to both visitors and administrators on a page about the traffic that the page receives.

The Data includes information about location, browser, device, and timings of visitors, advertisers rely on this data for targeted Advertisements. Apple Insider at first claimed that the new privacy suite completely blocked Google Analytics but now has come up with a retraction saying it only blocks third party access via cookies. What does this all mean? Let’s try to make sense of this.

Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that tracks web traffic and provides detailed information on the type of traffic. The service has both a paid and free plan with the paid plan being more comprehensive. If Safari had actually decided to block google analytics that could’ve been a huge blow to the service as the iPhones are some of the most popular devices. But what the policy actually does is allow apple Intelligent Tracking Prevention or ITP to prevent cross-site tracking via cookies.

Cookies are small pieces of data stored on the user’s device when they visit a website that uses cookies. The cookies themselves are harmless but they contain sensitive data namely your browser history. Cookies from unsecured websites have a chance of being targeted by potential hackers and misused. So only accept cookies from trusted websites. Some cookies like with can track your browser history through sites and Apple’s new ITP prevents that. Overall a useful policy for apple users while maintaining the functionality of Google Analytics.

Apple Insider was so intent on sticking it to Google that they forgot about one of the key aspects of journalism, prevent the spread of misinformation. People who follow the site for their apple news have probably taken the news at face value and probably spread it even more. The retraction itself is useless as most of the exposure to any article occurs within the first few hours. Misinformation and fake news are extremely common now, especially in the wake of Covid-19. Twitter recently decided to censor the US President because of the harm he was causing with his misguided tweets.

Journalism is important and so is a user’s privacy, but misinformation only harms everyone involved. Fake links and fake news messages are super common in messenger apps like WhatsApp, these are often malicious and could harm your device or steal your data. I would like to end by urging everyone to be careful about their source of news and to research everything before accepting it as fact.

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