Google’s new technology to track you for ads may do more harm than good, says Firefox

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Google's new technology to track you for ads may do more harm than good, says Firefox

Google aims to replace third party cookies with your new FLoC standard to show you relevant ads online. FLoC stands for Federated Learning of Cohorts. Google claims that this new technology offers better privacy for users while tracking them to show relevant online ads. However, Firefox creator Mozilla disagreed, saying that FLoC could pose a “significant” privacy risk to users.
Now the concept of FLoC is complex. Instead of advertisers creating individual profiles for digital ads, FLoC will create a group of users (at least 1000) with the same interests and advertisers will be able to serve ads to these groups. Therefore, instead of ads based on individual preferences, you will be part of larger anonymous groups and the ads will be served accordingly.
On the other hand, Mozilla explained in a blog post that “FLoC leaks more information than it wants.”
“With cookie-based tracking, the amount of information a tracker gets is determined by the number of sites it is embedded in … FLoC undermines these more restrictive cookie policies: because FLoC IDs are the same across all sites, they become key shares to which crawlers can associate data from external sources, ”Mozilla explained.
Google is testing FLoC in Chrome 90 and implementing new settings within the Privacy and Security options, but it has not yet been widely implemented. Google’s move to replace third-party cookies with FLoC hasn’t garnered much support from the tech industry. This move is not appreciated by the industry because it gives Google more control over the digital advertising business, thus increasing Google’s revenue, while third parties may be affected. Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox have confirmed that they have no immediate plans to adopt FLoC.
Mozilla further stated, “FLoC is built on a compelling idea: enabling ad targeting without exposing users to risk. But the current design has a number of privacy properties that could create significant risks if widely implemented in its current form. ”


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