Apple just killed offline web apps while purporting to protect your privacy [updated: not really]

Update: the WebKit blog post has been updated with a clarification:

Web applications added to the home screen are not part of Safari and thus have their own counter of days of use. Their days of use will match actual use of the web application which resets the timer. We do not expect the first-party in such a web application to have its website data deleted.

That’s definitely a relief, and good thing they cleared this up.

Original continues below:

On the face of it, WebKit’s announcement yesterday titled Full Third-Party Cookie Blocking and More sounds like something I would wholeheartedly welcome. Unfortunately, I can’t because the “and more” bit effectively kills off Offline Web Apps and, with it, the chance to have privacy-respecting apps like the prototype I was exploring earlier in the year based on DAT.

Block all third-party cookies, yes, by all means. 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.

I’m sure that’s entirely a coincidence for a company that wants to force everyone to use their App Store, the open web be damned.

One Response

  1. 2020-03-25 2:59 pm

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