DuckDuckGo shows how to block Google’s new method of tracking Chrome users


Privacy first search engine DuckDuckGo posted a blog on Friday discussing Google’s new data tracking system called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). Using an algorithm and searching histories, Google groups those with similar interests and demographics. FLoC replaces the use of cookies to track users and serve them ads and other targeted content.

Google’s new tracking method has been added to Chrome by default

When Google added Chrome to FLoC, no selection was made as the tracking system is enabled by default. As DuckDuckGo noted in his blog post, “The criteria for participating in FLoC are somewhat hidden and contradicting.” As scary as it sounds to those who value privacy, there are things you can do to stop FLoC from categorizing you.

Google claims that FLoC is good for privacy. And while FLoC theoretically replaces third-party cookies, the latter will not be removed until 2023 at the earliest. Therefore, Google can track users using two different methods for the time being.

FLoC allows the websites you visit to serve ads in a targeted manner as they will receive information about you from the moment you enter the website. While Google states that you belong to a group of people with the same demographic interests, you are more protected as an individual. However, the data available to websites along with your IP address (which those websites automatically obtain) mean that you as an individual are being tracked.

It seems pretty simple, but if you don’t want Google Chrome chasing you, use a different browser on your iOS and Android devices, as well as the desktop. If you own an iPhone and don’t like Safari, this author is using the recently updated version of Opera Browser available for iOS and Android). Besides Opera on Android The Samsung Internet Browser is a good choice to replace Chrome.

According to DuckDuckGo, if you need to keep using Chrome, you might be able to avoid FLoC by changing the settings in the Chrome browser. Some suggestions include signing out of your Google Account, avoiding syncing your history data with Chrome, turning off “Web and app activity” or “Include Chrome history and activity from websites, apps and devices that use Google Use Services “in Google Activity Controls. Google Ad Services should say “Ad Personalization” or “Also use your activities and information from Google services to personalize ads on websites and apps that work with Google to serve ads”.

Since Google has been profiling users for years, it’s only a matter of time before the code gets corrupted and your identity is revealed, even as FLoC reduces you to a series of numbers based on your interests and demographics. Google says FLoC is 95% as effective as third-party cookies, and DuckDuckGo says that means Google will continue to “target people by age, gender, ethnicity, income, and many other factors. That targeting, regardless of that.” , how it is.” done allows manipulation, discrimination and filter bubbles that many people want to avoid. “

DuckDuckGo has also improved its tracking blocker in its extension. This FLoC protection appears in version 2021.4.8 and later of the DuckDuckGo extension and is currently approved for the Chrome Web Store. Note, however, that your default search engine and homepage are set to DuckDuckGo Search by default.

Several organizations involved in privacy protection have asked Google not to use FLoC, but to no avail. While Google is giving the impression that it is trying to improve privacy on the internet, replacing third-party cookies with a tracking system enabled by default certainly sounds just as bad.

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