Browser vendors including Brave, Vivaldi, and search engine developer DuckDuckGo has so far rejected Google’s upcoming FLoC ad tracking tech due to security concerns.
Google announced in March that it has plans to roll out a new privacy-focused feature for the Chrome browser and ad-serving websites.
This new feature labeled Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is meant to replace the more traditional third-party cookies used by ad networks and analytics platforms to track users across the web. This potentially opens a can of worms in terms of security and user privacy.
FLoC replaces tracking technologies like third-party cookies and localStorage with what is being called “cohorts”. This is done by the user’s individual web browser assuming responsibility of tracking users across the world wide web from ad servers and services.
FLoC has been criticized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Google is running a Chrome “origin trial” to test out an experimental Federated Learning of Cohorts in regions including Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States currently affecting 0.5% of Chrome users.