Block all third-party cookies, yes, by all means1. But deleting
all local storage (including Indexed DB, etc.) after 7 days effectively blocks any future decentralised apps using the browser (client side) as a trusted replication node in a
peer-to-peer network. And that’s a huge blow to the future of privacy.
Like Aral and doubtless many others, I was initially delighted to see that Safari has beaten Chrome to the punch, blocking basically all third-party cookies through its
Intelligent Tracking Protection. I don’t even routinely use Safari (although I do block virtually all third-party and many first-party cookies using uMatrix for Firefox), but I loved this announcement because I knew that this, coupled with Google’s promise to (eventually)
do the same in their browser, would make a significant impact on the profitability of surveillance capitalism on the Web. Hurrah!
But as Aral goes on to point out, Apple’s latest changes also effectively undermines the capability of people to make Progressive Web Applications that run completely-offline, because their new privacy features delete the cache of all
offline storage if it’s not accessed for 7 days.
PWAs have had a bumpy ride. They were brought to the foreground by Apple in the first place when Steve Jobs suggested that
something-like-this would be the way that apps should one day be delivered to the iPhone, but then that idea got sidelined by the App Store. In recent years, we’ve begun to see the
cameras, position, accelerometers, and Bluetooth, and other PWA-ready technologies. And for a while I thought that the day
of the PWA might be drawing near… but it looks like we might have to wait a bit longer.
I hope that Google doesn’t follow Apple’s lead on this particular “privacy” point, although I’m sure that it’s tempting for them to do so. Offline Web applications have the potential to
provide an open, simple, and secure ecosystem for the “apps” of tomorrow, and after several good steps forwards… this week we took a big step back.
You know how sometimes you get an idea, and you already wrote and extended the code that makes it possible
so surely you only need to do a little audio editing and CSS animation tweaking and graphic design and HOLY SHIT HOW DID IT GET
The amazon dash is a pinnacle of modern web design. It’s one of the most intrusive, complex, and resource-dependent devices we’ve introduced into our homes, yet it appears as a simple
oval with a single button for a single use. The use is absurdly narrow: the button will have a picture of Tide detergent, and when you press the button, Tide detergent is sent to your
Barely a week goes by between the times that I discover some horrifically over-engineered “solution” on the Internet. Amazon’s Dash buttons are terrible: disposable (plastic)
single-purpose computers that could so easily have been made into something “more” – more-versatile, more-open, more-configurable, more-flexible. Indeed: people have been doing exactly that kind of thing! But the vanilla Dash button remains little more than selling you
convenience (and not much convenience, if we’re honest) in exchange for more and more of your feeling of digital freedom. Yet another example of what replaced the Web we lost…
By hiding the technical processes, and simplifying the onboarding and engagement of their services, Amazon can continually reinforce your depression for a profit— and you can get
name-brand laundry detergent faster.