Google killing cookies in Chrome is not what it seems


Illustration for the article titled Stop Letting Google Get Away With It

Photo: David ramos (fake images)

After spending more than a decade building massive profits outside of targeted advertising, Google Announced on Wednesday you plan to remove any type of individual tracking and targeting once the cookie is out of the picture.

In many ways, this announcement is just Google’s way of doubling down on its long-standing pro-privacy proclamations, starting with the company’s. 2020 initial commitment to remove third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. Those who protect privacy among us may agree that removing this type of ubiquitous trackers and counselors It’s a net good, but this is not the time to start encouraging privacy for a company based on our data, as some were inclined to do after Wednesday’s announcement.

As the cookie deletion date gets closer and closer, we’ve seen some big names in the business of data brokering and ad tech (suspicious third parties who profit from cookies) trying to create something of a “universal identifierWhich could serve as a substitute once Google disconnects it. In some cases, these new IDs are based on people email logins They collectively hash and collect from tons of sites on the web. In other cases, companies plan to supplement chunks of a person’s identifiable data with other data that can be extracted from non-browser sources, such as their television or connected mobile phones. exist tons of others schemes these companies are coming up with amid the cookie countdown, and apparently, Google has none of that.

“We continue to receive questions about whether Google will join others in the ad technology industry planning to replace third-party cookies with alternate identifiers at the user level,” David Temkin, who leads Google’s product management team for “Trust and ad privacy “. wrote in a blog post published Wednesday.

In response, Temkin noted that Google does not believe that “these solutions will meet the growing privacy expectations of consumers, nor will they withstand rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions.” Based on that, these types of products “are not a sustainable investment in the long term,” he added, noting that Google does not plan to build “alternative identifiers to track people” once the cookie is overridden.

What Google make building plan, however, is its own set of “privacy preservation” tools for ad targeting, such as your Federated cohort learning, or FLoC for short. Just to get people up to speed: While cookies (and some of these planned universal IDs) track people by their individual browsing behavior as they bounce from site to site, under FLoC, a browser’s person would take any data generated by that browsing and basically put it into a large chunk of data from people with similar browsing behavior, a “flock” so to speak. Instead of being able to target ads to people based on the individual bites of data a person generates, Google would allow advertisers to target these giant pots of aggregate data.

We have written all our thoughts on FLoC prior to—The short version is that, as the majority Out of Google’s privacy boosts we’ve seen so far, FLoC’s proposal isn’t as user-friendly as you might think. On the one hand, others have already pointed out that this proposal does not necessarily stop people are not tracked across the web, just make sure Google is the only one to do it. This is one of the reasons why the next cookiepocolypse has counting already drawn from the UK competition authorities. Meanwhile, some American trade groups have already aloud your suspicions that what Google is doing here has less to do with privacy and more to do with bolstering your obscenely tight grip on the economics of digital advertising.

Which brings us back to that Google blog post from earlier this week, the post that was literally called “charting a course for a more private web,” while also overlooking all the obvious issues that others have pointed out. with FLoC: how is the monitoring still tracking, even if it is happening altogether. How Google’s claim that FLoC-based targeting is “95% more efficient” than cookie-based targeting appears to be supported math bunk beds. How this ploy would give Google exclusive access to a ton of user data that the company already monopolizes to a great extent. If Google really wants to change the national conversation on consumer privacy, then it should start by clarifying what they think “privacy” really means.

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