Apple’s Safari web browser joins the Tor browser as one of only two that fully block all third-party cookies.
The move has been a long time coming, and Safari has been gradually adding more features that limit the overall effectiveness of third-party cookies for tracking. As a result, in a WebKit blog post, the developers downplay the change as not a big deal, although they do highlight some of the significant benefits the move brings.
One of the biggest advantages is disabling login fingerprinting. Login fingerprinting is a technique that “allows a website to invisibly detect where you are logged in and is viable in any browser without full third-party cookie blocking.”
Similarly, the move “disables cross-site request forgery attacks against websites through third-party requests,” and “removes the ability to use an auxiliary third-party domain to identify users. Such a setup could otherwise persist IDs even when users delete website data for the first party.”
There are a number of additional benefits, including paving the way for other browsers to adopt a similar approach, and simplifying things for developers. Overall, this is a good move for customers, helping protect their privacy. It will hopefully motivate site admins to adopt other ways of monetizing their content, such as the Firefox Better Web initiative.