WWDC: Apple, Cloudflare, Fastly draw the end of captcha

Apple took a few steps toward a passwordless future at its Worldwide Developers Conference, but another component of its strategy is to replace CAPTCHA (a fully automated public Turing test for distinguishing between computers and Humanity).

Introducing: Private Access Tokens

Apple is partnering with Cloudflare (which most credits with developing the technology behind iCloud Private Relay with Cloudflare). It’s also partnering with Google and Fastly to deploy a standardized CAPTCHA alternative called Private Access Tokens.

We are all accustomed to encountering CAPTHA interrogations when working online. The number of crosswalks and taxis most people identify in their photos must be in the billions, and sometimes going through the process is an annoying extra step when logging in or setting up a new account online.

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

Another issue is that CAPTCHA servers sometimes rely on fingerprinting/tracking clients using their IP addresses, which does not reflect industry efforts to protect user privacy. While the process does help protect the service and its servers from fraudulent activity, it does add friction to the user experience.

Thus, CAPTCHA serves its purpose, but at the expense of user experience, privacy, and accessibility.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: