Browsers push back against Google's proposed FLoC ad system

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 19
Major browsers have rejected Google's new proposal for creating targeted ads, saying that they fear the system could put users' privacy at risk.

Browsers push back against Google's proposed FLoC system citing privacy concerns


In early April, Google announced it would move forward with a plan to abandon third-party cookies to utilize a new method, called FLoC, to collect user data in aggregate to assist in targeting ads. Google also began secretly opting in an unknown amount of users to the beta test without ever asking for their consent.

Other browsers have begun speaking out against Google's FLoC. Many have now gone on record stating that they would not implement the feature.

"We don't buy into the assumption that the industry needs billions of data points about people, that are collected and shared without their understanding, to serve relevant advertising," Mozilla told The Verge. "That is why we've implemented Enhanced Tracking Protection by default to block more than ten billion trackers a day, and continue to innovate on new ways to protect people who use Firefox."

Brave, Vivaldi, and Opera have also gone on record saying that they do not back Google's new system in its current form, either.

Apple's own John Wilandar, a WebKit engineer who works on Safari's Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) took to Twitter to share a statement that Brave browser had said about FLoC.

Brave on FLoC: 'In general, the idea that privacy is, and is only, the absence of cross-site tracking, is wrong. Any useful concept of privacy should include some concept of "don't tell others things you know about me, without my permission."' https://t.co/NjOaMu5rAy

-- John Wilander (@johnwilander)


While Apple has not made an official statement about it, Wilandar responds to a Twitter user, stating that Safari has not gone on the record, saying that it would implement FLoC and that the "serious standards proposals deserve thinking."

We have not said we will implement and we have our tracking prevention policy. That's it for the time being. Serious standards proposals deserve thinking and I appreciate Brave sharing theirs.

-- John Wilander (@johnwilander)


FloC, short for Federated Learning of Cohorts, lumps users into like-minded groups called "cohorts." It functions similarly to third-party cookies but would take place from the browser itself. The system is far from perfect, and if implemented incorrectly, it could make it even easier to create browser fingerprinting.

FLoC beta testing began earlier in April, focusing on users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States. Google has not released how many users are opted in, but it is believed that at least 0.5% of Chrome users have been brought in without their knowledge.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,304member
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    mike54viclauyycbaconstangAnilu_777williamlondonjas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 8,991member
    chadbag said:
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    And to demonstrate how the general pubic doesn’t give a rat’s ass about privacy Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Even in these forums we have so-called Apple users glorifying Chrome as orders of magnitude better than Safari. Everybody uses Chrome it is said these days.
    edited April 19 mike54macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 17
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,511member
    lkrupp said:
    chadbag said:
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    And to demonstrate how the general pubic doesn’t give a rat’s ass about privacy Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Even in these forums we have so-called Apple users glorifying Chrome as orders of magnitude better than Safari. Everybody uses Chrome it is said these days.
    I guess ignorance is bliss for those users.

    I for one avoid Chrome whenever possible.  
    mike54macplusplusAnilu_777williamlondonjas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Chrome is a virus. 

    All of googles products and services are viruses. 

    They infect your machines under false pretenses and spy on you, delivering your personal life to the Google overloaded, who profit off of pulling your covers off with many other spies. Who even knows how much of this is readily available to various governments in a given whim. 

    Safari is superior to chrome. Just use it. 

    What’s sad though is some site operators don’t know how to build websites and go for the easy low hanging fruit that Google offers as “helpful code” to run their sites with. Little do they know that you are basically opening up your users to malicious invasion and crushing whatever trust you hoped to build. 
    mike54Anilu_777qwerty52williamlondonjas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 17
    mike54mike54 Posts: 417member
    This tracking technology will be even more efficient and detailed once fully developed and deployed than cookies. Just recently Google wasn't showing any concern about the demise of cookies, well that's because they had this technology ready to go, it just that it wasn't released to the public yet.
    Other Google based browsers and sites are expressing concern now, but they won't hold out for long. I hope that at least Safari and Firefox will hold out indefinitely.

    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,002member
    Google: Users' privacy! What's that??
    Anilu_777qwerty52watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 17
    I don't use Chrome, I use Safari.
    DDG is my default search engine.
    I have 4 or 5 email addresses.  One is a gmail account.  It's the dead letter box.  I go there about once a week and delete everything.
    Anilu_777qwerty52jas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 17
    Anilu_777Anilu_777 Posts: 248member
    lkrupp said:
    chadbag said:
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    And to demonstrate how the general pubic doesn’t give a rat’s ass about privacy Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Even in these forums we have so-called Apple users glorifying Chrome as orders of magnitude better than Safari. Everybody uses Chrome it is said these days.
    Google has designed Chrome and promoted coding that makes apps work better on Chrome. I have this issue at work where the software we use is glitchy on Edge and fine on Chrome. I asked IT and they actually told me that they were supposed to get another update that would make it work well no matter the browser and that never happened. So yes there is a sneaky part to it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,691member
    sflocal said:
    lkrupp said:
    chadbag said:
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    And to demonstrate how the general pubic doesn’t give a rat’s ass about privacy Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Even in these forums we have so-called Apple users glorifying Chrome as orders of magnitude better than Safari. Everybody uses Chrome it is said these days.
    I guess ignorance is bliss for those users.

    I for one avoid Chrome whenever possible.  
    Same here. 

    … and enrolling users without their consent?
    qwerty52jas99baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 282member
    Google concerned about users’s privacy? Who still believes that? 
    Hypocrisy from the highest level!
    Whatever they say or do, we all know, that Google desperately needs our privacy data, because of Google’s business model.
    Where are they going otherwise to get their money from, if they don’t gather our privacy data?
    I simply don’t trust Google and I’ve never even thought to install Chrome. 
    edited April 20 baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Funny how dependent this and most other sites are on Google to work. ajax.googleapis, double-click etc etc. Isn't it time for sites to get rid of their slavish reliance on Google? We all know what they have become so why isn't anyone taking a stand? I've blocked 99% of google at my network firewall (both incoming and outgoing). Starve them of data until they start playing fair with our data.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    This article uses the term “opt in” for Google’s inclusion of users without their consent. That’s misuse of the term; opt-in means the end user has the OPTION of whether to participate.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 8,991member
    Anilu_777 said:
    lkrupp said:
    chadbag said:
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    And to demonstrate how the general pubic doesn’t give a rat’s ass about privacy Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Even in these forums we have so-called Apple users glorifying Chrome as orders of magnitude better than Safari. Everybody uses Chrome it is said these days.
    Google has designed Chrome and promoted coding that makes apps work better on Chrome. I have this issue at work where the software we use is glitchy on Edge and fine on Chrome. I asked IT and they actually told me that they were supposed to get another update that would make it work well no matter the browser and that never happened. So yes there is a sneaky part to it. 
    And why do some things work better with Chrome? Because Chrome ignores the rules and doesn’t care about security, that’s why... not matter what nonsense @gatorguy spews.
    watto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 14 of 17
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,122member
    lkrupp said:
    chadbag said:
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    And to demonstrate how the general pubic doesn’t give a rat’s ass about privacy Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Even in these forums we have so-called Apple users glorifying Chrome as orders of magnitude better than Safari. Everybody uses Chrome it is said these days.
    Not everyone. And many do because they are forced into because Google employed the Microsoft playbook and made sure IT guy used their Proprietary chrome tech so their sites need chrome. It makes sure certain function don’t work anywhere else just like we were stuck with explorer in the 90s. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,616member
    lkrupp said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    lkrupp said:
    chadbag said:
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    And to demonstrate how the general pubic doesn’t give a rat’s ass about privacy Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Even in these forums we have so-called Apple users glorifying Chrome as orders of magnitude better than Safari. Everybody uses Chrome it is said these days.
    Google has designed Chrome and promoted coding that makes apps work better on Chrome. I have this issue at work where the software we use is glitchy on Edge and fine on Chrome. I asked IT and they actually told me that they were supposed to get another update that would make it work well no matter the browser and that never happened. So yes there is a sneaky part to it. 
    And why do some things work better with Chrome? Because Chrome ignores the rules and doesn’t care about security, that’s why... not matter what nonsense @gatorguy spews.
    Chrome doesn't care about security?  That's quite the claim, got any evidence for it?
  • Reply 16 of 17
    This article uses the term “opt in” for Google’s inclusion of users without their consent. That’s misuse of the term; opt-in means the end user has the OPTION of whether to participate.
    I believe that AI used that term not because they feel it is accurate; as much as it is what Google states it is, even though it clearly is not. A lot of my company that I work for uses almost Google everything, and it gets tiring the number of times that I have to keep on stating that they are taking our data and harvesting it. Their rationale is that it is "better than Apple; who steals everything from you" (which, for the record, I know is not the case) or my personal favorite "Why should I care, it isn't like I have anything to hide"...
    watto_cobraslprescott
  • Reply 17 of 17
    lkrupp said:
    chadbag said:
    This is one reason I don’t use Chrome.  If I have to have some sort of Chrome compatibility on a site I use Brave.   I avoid all Google stuff that I can possibly avoid.  
    And to demonstrate how the general pubic doesn’t give a rat’s ass about privacy Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Even in these forums we have so-called Apple users glorifying Chrome as orders of magnitude better than Safari. Everybody uses Chrome it is said these days.
    There are a lot of people who know little about computers and just use what they’ve been told. And there are obviously a lot of people who believe the branding that Chrome is better and so recommend it to their family and friends who don’t know either way.
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