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WWDC: Apple, Cloudflare, Fastly plot the end of CAPTCHA


Apple took several steps toward a password-free future at its Worldwide Developer Conference, but another component of its strategy will be to replace CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) with a more private solution.

Introducing: Private Access Tokens

Apple is working with Cloudflare (with whom most think it developed the tech behind iCloud Private Relay). It is also working with Google and Fastly to deploy a standardized alternative to CAPTCHA called Private Access Tokens.

We’ve all become used to encountering CAPTHA interrogations when working online. The number of crosswalks and taxis most people have identified in photographs must surely be counted in billions, and it is sometimes an annoying additional step to work through the process when logging into or setting up new accounts online.

The process also challenges users with accessibility problems or language barriers.

Another problem is that CAPTCHA servers sometimes rely on fingerprinting/tracking clients using their IP address, which does not reflect the industry’s moves to protect user privacy. And while the process does help protect services and their servers against fraudulent activity, it does add friction to the user experience.

So, CAPTCHA serves its purpose, but at the cost of user experience, privacy, accessibility.

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