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19 April 2021
Google’s alternative to cookies runs into problems
Data protection & privacyWebsites, online services, appsDigital media planning & buying
Plans by Google to do away with third-party cookies next year are looking anything but straightforward as important players seem not to like its proposed FLoC alternative.
Why it matters
Google’s FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) will use an algorithm to examine users’ browser history and group them alongside others with similar histories to be targeted with ads. But privacy and legal issues look set to shake up the roll out. An estimate by McKinsey suggests the industry will have to find creative ways to replace as much as $10bn in ad revenue when third-party cookies go.
So far, reports suggest the browser makers Brave, Vivaldi, Edge, DuckDuckGo and Mozilla will not use FLoC, either by removing it from their software or by adding tools to block it.
Wordpress says it will treat FLoC’s tracking technology as a security issue and may block it by default.
Some believe FLoC’s current insistence that Chrome users must be signed in to their Google accounts may lead to problems with the European Union’s GDPR privacy rules. Google carries as much as 90% of Europe’s search traffic.
“We will not support the FLoC API and plan to disable it, no matter how it is implemented. It does not protect privacy and it certainly is not beneficial to users, to unwittingly give away their privacy for the financial gain of Google” – Vivaldi on Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts.
Sourced from The Verge, The Register, McKinsey, Vivaldi