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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A letter signed by nearly every major advertising trade group is criticizing Apple for its plan to use cookie-blocking technology in the updated version of its Safari web browser. In the letter, first obtained by AdWeek, they argue that the change will not only hurt the user experience but will also "sabotage the economic model for the Internet." They say Apple is replacing existing user-controlled cookie preferences with its own set of "opaque and arbitrary standards for cookie handling."

Why it matters: Tech companies are making these types of changes in response to backlash over advertising tactics that create a poor user experience — and now advertisers, who've become accustomed to using them for years, are fighting back.

The resistance follows other major moves by tech companies that seek to end unpleasant user experiences on the web. Earlier this year, Google said it would block traffic to any web page from its Chrome web browser whose ads didn't adhere to third-party standard that's largely agreed upon by most advertisers, but this has proven to be difficult for many websites to implement. Apple also said that it would block any ads accessed through Safari that autoplay video, and many websites autoplay video to be able to sell more ads.

Between the lines: The tech innovations in digital advertising that were embraced by publishers trying to monetize digital content and marketers hoping to better target ads, (like cookie-based targeting, web-tracking, etc.), were largely unregulated when introduced. As a result, the overuse of these tactics has created a unpleasant web experience for users. While most advertisers would agree that something needs to be done to create a less intrusive web environment, some argue that users don't actually want to see these type of changes.

"More than 68 million people that visit the cookies opt-out page have chosen to allow interest-based ads to continue," says Dan Jaffe, EVP at the National Association of Advertisers. "By doing this, Apple is saying 'we know better than consumers what they need.'"

Publishers are caught somewhere in the middle: Dave Grimaldi, EVP of Public Policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, says Apple's move "could prevent the types of digital ads that support publishers all across the web," meaning it would limit cheaper data-based ads from being sold. On the other hand, "it could be beneficial to publishers in that advertisers may be more motivated to buy ad inventory directly from publishers, which is far more lucrative for the publisher," says Keith Sibson, VP of Product & Marketing for digital marketing company PostUp.

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

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