So, what the latest announcement from Google mean? Is the Californian company planning to stop tracking its users?
No. While cookies are set to be ditched from Chrome in the future, the same functionality will be enabled by Google’s replacement. Dubbed FLoC, Federated Learning of Cohorts, the new technology is designed to improve the anonymity of its browser users while still collecting browsing data for advertising purposes.
Digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has criticised the proposed FLoC tracker. It argues this user behaviour surveillance tool could still harm Chrome users’ privacy. According to the advocacy group, Google “hasn’t learned the right lessons from the ongoing backlash to the surveillance business model”.
Google is currently in the process of trialling its FLoC replacement for cookies, but it isn’t letting Chrome users know whether they’re included in the test.
EFF has launched a new website called Am I FLoCed, which is designed to allow those included in the latest round of tests from Google to know whether they’re being used as guinea pigs for the new tracking tools. According to Google, around 0.5 percent of its users are included in the latest round of trials.
That might sound like a pretty small amount. But given that it’s estimated that Google Chrome boasts around 2.6 billion users worldwide, even a trial that involves 0.5 percent of all users will count 13,250,000 Chrome users.
Apple is positioning itself at the forefront of the privacy fight – which is only heating up. With its upcoming iOS 14.5 update for iPhone, which is expected to launch in the coming weeks, will herald a massive change to the user-tracking business.
iOS apps that want to store your personal data, Google and Facebook included, will now have to ask permission first. Facebook has been pretty vocal about these dialogue boxes, which will explicitly spell out what data the application is trying to track, and how it could damage its business model.
This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed