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This is really in response to the irresponsible use of APIs for trackers. Evercookie is a stunning example of how far it can go... From their repo:

- Standard HTTP Cookies - Flash Local Shared Objects - Silverlight Isolated Storage - CSS History Knocking - Storing cookies in HTTP ETags (Backend server required) - Storing cookies in Web cache (Backend server required) - HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) Pinning (works in Incognito mode) - window.name caching - Internet Explorer userData storage - HTML5 Session Storage - HTML5 Local Storage - HTML5 Global Storage - HTML5 Database Storage via SQLite - HTML5 Canvas - Cookie values stored in RGB data of auto-generated, force-cached PNG images (Backend server required) - HTML5 IndexedDB - Java JNLP PersistenceService - Java exploit CVE-2013-0422 - Attempts to escape the applet sandbox and write cookie data directly to the user's hard drive.


In short, everything and more can be used for tracking, and that has really killed the party for the many people who have created responsible, useful applications of these browser APIs.

It's really in response to a confused, ad-hoc web privacy model that has never been designed and is simply incrementally patched over time in response to complaints from an equally confused, directionless and visionless 'privacy warrior' subculture.

Mobile apps suffer these kinds of problems far less, partly because it's understood that actually mobile users don't install apps then get upset about "tracking", in fact, the vast majority of apps will want you to sign in to some sort of account and those that don't will be using ad networks to fund themselves, that users understand and accept this and that throwing up permissions screens doesn't achieve much because users will typically grant the permissions. Privacy on mobile platforms is more about stopping activity the average user would recognise as illegitimate spying - turning on cameras and microphones to feed conversations to angry ex-girlfriends, that sort of thing.

If the web's architecture had some sort of coherent view on how the tension between users, content providers and advertisers should work, then we wouldn't see this steady endless churn of app-breaking API changes. Everyone would know the rules of the road and there'd be way less tension as a result. Mobile platforms aren't quite there because they were designed with security architectures that were then pressed into service as ad-hoc privacy architectures, but they're still far more coherent on the topic than the web.

"some sort of coherent view on how the tension between users, content providers and advertisers"

Please share anything you think and find.

Balancing these kinds of trilemmas, on a knife's edge, is my metaphor for designing open markets, governance, democracy, planning, and so forth.

“... abusing over a dozen technologies...” is this a proof-of-concept or a real thing ? It just seems too horrendous to be real.

I think your comment really hits the nail on the head, IMHO the frustration shouldn’t be directed toward Apple but more toward the groups who have pushed the tracking practice so far to necessitate such draconian measures.

This is 100% correct. Being upset at Apple here is exactly like publishers whining about ad blockers when they should direct their frustration and anger directly at the ad creators (or themselves) for foolishly abusing their audience.

No, the two are different. Ads are only used for ads. localStorage has lots of uses, tracking users being only one of them. Apple is throwing out the baby with the bath water. Ad blockers merely throw out bath water with varying levels of dirtiness.

This is real, but also not new (as you can tell from the name check on Flash, Silverlight and IE). They used to be called "supercookies", but that term has come to mean something else in the last few years.

You could permissionwall that stuff, just like iOS asks for permissions to ask your location. If a random website wants to mess with Local Storage I know that I need to turn around.

... however i'm afraid that 99% of all users (the non-techies) would just be annoyed by the popup and click "OK"

Yes, that would have been a much better approach. It would hinder trackers, but not valid uses of localStorage.

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