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OPLIN 4Cast #758: Google Delays Privacy Initiative as Major Players Push Back

Posted in 4cast, Google, and privacy

Last week (so I could get the accumulated bonuses from winning “Words with Friends” games) I updated my iPad, and finally encountered that Identity for Advertisers (IDFA) permissions prompt we discussed in March. The Wall Street Journal reports that, due to Apple’s permission changes, spending on iOS ads fell by a third in June, while Android spending rose 10%. The announcement that Google will be delaying its major privacy initiative—the elimination of third-party cookie support from Chrome—is driving even more ad-tech investment. Read more about Google’s proposed “Federated Learning of Cohorts” (FLoC) and why it’s being delayed below.

  • An updated timeline for Privacy Sandbox milestones [The Keyword] “We believe the web community needs to come together to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web, giving people more transparency and greater control over how their data is used.”
  • Google delays FLoC rollout until 2023 [Ars Technica] “Instead of letting individual companies hide a third-party cookie on your computer that tracks what websites you visit for ad interest tracking, FLoC would let Chrome build an ad profile locally on your computer and ship that profile to advertisers whenever they ask. Google says this plan is better than third-party cookies because it will take individual identification out of the ad-tracking process by combining people into groups, though many opponents of the idea have disputed this idea.”
  • Google delays Chrome’s cookie-blocking privacy plan by nearly 2 years [CNET] “Google believes blocking third-party cookies at this stage is actually bad for people using the web because it drives tracking companies to covert approaches such as fingerprinting. Unlike cookies, users cannot clear their fingerprint, and therefore cannot control how their information is collected or used.”
  • Fighting FLoC and Fighting Monopoly Are Fully Compatible [Electronic Frontier Foundation] “Google’s move to kill the third-party cookie has been greeted with both cheers and derision. On the one hand, some people are happy to see the death of one of the internet’s most invasive technologies. We’re glad to see it go, too – but we’re pretty upset to see that it’s going to be replaced with a highly invasive alternative tracking technology (bad enough) that can eliminate the majority of Google’s competitors in the data-acquisition and ad-targeting sectors in a single stroke (worse).”

From the Ohio Web Library