Hot Take Chrome targets your Browsing History for Personalised Ads

Ink

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The US mega-corp has developed a variety of replacement technologies, such as the Topics API that will allow ad targeting to continue without cookie-based tracking and – it's claimed – no privacy consequences.

Topics essentially works like this: rather than using cookies to track people around the web and figure out their interests from the sites they visit and the apps they use, websites can ask Chrome directly, via its Topics JavaScript API, what sort of things the user is interested in, and then display ads based on that. Chrome picks these topics of interest from studying the user's browser history.

So if you visit lots of financial websites, one of your Chrome-selected topics may be "investing." If a site you visit queries the Topics API, it may learn of this interest from Chrome and decide to serve you an advert about bonds or retirement funds. It also means websites can fetch your online interests straight from your browser.
Google has offered repeated reassurances that its Topics API does not allow companies to identify those whose interests inform its ad API. But some developers claim Topics may be useful for browser fingerprinting and both Apple and Mozilla have said they won't adopt Topics due to privacy concerns.

How to Opt-out using chrome://settings/adPrivacy OR chrome://settings/privacySandbox

Unlike America, where opt-out is acceptable and opt-in requirements are broadly opposed by marketers, EU data privacy rules are more demanding in the way data choices are presented.

So if you see a pop-up with "Got It," you've probably been opted-in, based on where you are, and you need to turn off the Topics API support in your Chrome settings if you don't like it; and if you have the option to "Turn it on," you're being asked to opt in or out as you're in a region that requires it.

Depending on what Chrome version you're using, and whether you've been selected to start using Topics API, you can switch this functionality off and on by visiting chrome://settings/adPrivacy and/or chrome://settings/privacySandbox

Story via Google Chrome pushes browser history-based ad targeting
 

Ink

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Clear your browsing history every minute automatically using chrome extension

Adding randomly recommended extensions adds unknown risks. No thanks. (n)
 

Arequire

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For people like us who block third-party cookies and use an ad/tracker blocker, Topics is worthless, but for those that don't, it's a big improvement over third-party cookies from a privacy-centric perspective. The problem with Topics currently is that third-party cookies aren't being depreciated for about a year, so advertisers can combine the information they receive from cookies with the generated topics to tailor their ads more effectively than by just using cookies alone.
 
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nicolaasjan

Level 3
May 29, 2023
139
Alert: No Google Topics in Vivaldi Browser
Spying on people’s behavior and profiling them is wrong. That is why we have made sure that Google’s Topics is disabled in two separate ways in the Vivaldi browser.
Chrome now directly tracks users, and generates a “topic” list it shares with advertisers.
And this is simply ridiculous. Topics, a part of Chrome Privacy Sandbox, is something we have long known as a deceitful attempt by Google to appear to be privacy-oriented while introducing new means of spying on their users.

In short: Topics is among Google’s attempts to replace the third-party cookie as a means of identifying people online by striking a balance between preserving people’s privacy and preserving companies’ abilities to buy and sell targeted ads.
From the moment they started developing it, we have voiced our concerns about this — whether it was Floc or Topics, and have sought to fully disable it in Vivaldi. We never had any faith in the Topics API from the very start.

Read our blog when Topics was announced.

Google’s Topics disabled in Vivaldi.​

Google’s Topics API will not be enabled in Vivaldi, and it cannot work in Vivaldi. It would need two things to make it work, and we have disabled both of them.
  1. It would need a setting enabled for it to collect local profiles about you. We disable the setting by default, and we forcibly do it in a way that means that changes to Chromium cannot remotely enable it. We do not provide any settings UI to allow you to change it, and we will soon remove the new Chromium settings section for it. (Technically, you could enable it by editing your settings or installing an extension that manipulates it. However, all that would do is enable local data collection. It will not be used because of #2)
  2. Before exposing the Topics API information to websites, Chromium checks if the setting is enabled or disabled. We forcibly make it always return “disabled”, even if it is enabled. So that even if you somehow manage to bypass #1 and enable local profile collection, it will not expose it to Google or other websites.
 

Moonhorse

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Unfortunately, Vivaldi is a crappy Firefox + Chromium jumble of confusion. There will never be a big user base for it because it's a nightmare to configure unless you're happy with default setup.
If you configure it once, then sync the profile, never have to configure browser again. But i get your point, its slowest browser to set up ready. For me its just so good on android/desktop, and even better after they adjusted the speed of browser lately

Google chrome just works out of box, since i got google phone now, im between google chrome and vivaldi:unsure:
 

upnorth

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has urged folks to switch off several Privacy Sandbox settings in Google Chrome to mask their online habits, or to consider switching to Mozilla Firefox or Apple Safari.

Chrome's Privacy Sandbox is neither private – preventing one from being observed – nor a sandbox – an environment in which code can be executed in isolation. Rather it's a suite of advertising, analytics, anti-spam, and anti-tracking technologies. The goal for some of these is to replace third-party cookies. Third-party cookies, because they harm privacy by permitting people to be tracked online, are scheduled to be phased out next year in Chrome. But the online advertising industry isn't entirely sold on Google's replacement technology, and it may be that antitrust cases or other regulatory pressure will lead websites away from Privacy Sandbox and toward industry-backed ad tech like IAB's Seller Defined Audiences.

Google says its Privacy Sandbox has five major goals: fighting spam and fraud on the web; showing relevant ads and content; measuring digital ads; strengthening cross-site privacy boundaries; and limiting covert tracking.
The proposal that most troubles the EFF in this instance is Topics, an API for delivering ads based on interests inferred from the web histories of Chrome users.

"Topics is a response to pushback against Google’s proposed Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which we called 'a terrible idea' because it gave Google even more control over advertising in its browser while not truly protecting user privacy," said Thorin Klosowski, EFF security and privacy activist, in a web essay. "While there have been some changes to how this works since 2019, Topics is still tracking your internet use for Google’s behavioral advertising." Basically, Topics, which became generally available in early September, allows websites to query visitors' Chrome browsers – or any other compliant browser – for a recent interest identifier associated with a taxonomy that currently includes 469 interest categories. Thus, with Topics, websites can ask browsers directly what someone is interested in, based on their web browsing history, and serve up ads and perhaps other content based on that.

Presently, Topics is available in Google's Chrome browser. Microsoft hasn't committed but is testing some Privacy Sandbox technologies in its Edge browser, which uses Chrome's Chromium engine. Mozilla and Apple have rejected Topics in Firefox and Safari respectively due to privacy concerns. And earlier this year, the Technical Architecture Group (TAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the web's technical body, panned Topics for being opaque and diminishing user control. Google characterizes Topics as an improvement over the not-very-private status quo in which advertising and analytics firms can follow people across websites.
 
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ForgottenSeer 103564

I hope this does not get taken wrong, but need to point out, that everyone bashes on google for this while using Windows/Microsoft to read and bash, like it is any different :rolleyes:

There is no such thing as privacy on the internet, just as one does not expect privacy in public when they leave their house.

Now the question is, how many users utilize googles products/apps on a daily basis, google search, google maps, google earth, google translate and so forth. Are they just supposed to provide those for free, maintaining massive server farms/data bases, building and improving services ect?

Last but not least, when im researching things, and relevant ads and articles appear that help refine the search, i do not get annoyed, but rather explore and find things i would not of typically.
 

SpyNetGirl

Level 3
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Jan 30, 2023
109
I hope this does not get taken wrong, but need to point out, that everyone bashes on google for this while using Windows/Microsoft to read and bash, like it is any different :rolleyes:

There is no such thing as privacy on the internet, just as one does not expect privacy in public when they leave their house.

Now the question is, how many users utilize googles products/apps on a daily basis, google search, google maps, google earth, google translate and so forth. Are they just supposed to provide those for free, maintaining massive server farms/data bases, building and improving services ect?

Last but not least, when im researching things, and relevant ads and articles appear that help refine the search, i do not get annoyed, but rather explore and find things i would not of typically.

Google's main business is advertisement. Microsoft's main business is providing services. Of course they are very different.

It's misguiding to say they're the same.

Google didn't create Android for love, didn't create YouTube to give you free storage for your videos etc. they did it for advertisement, and what do they need? User data and data mining.

What's Microsoft's biggest income source? Azure services, M365 subscription, Xbox, games.

Sources:


 
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ForgottenSeer 103564

Google's main business is advertisement. Microsoft's main business is providing services. Of course they are very different.

It's misguiding to say they're the same.

Google didn't create Android for love, didn't create YouTube to give you free storage for your videos etc. they did it for advertisement, and what do they need? User data and data mining.

What's Microsoft's biggest income source? Azure services, M365 subscription, Xbox, games.

Sources:


Sure microsoft can be different if you want to run around in the background disabling all the services that track everything you do. It was what im referring too. At least google is straight about their ads and tracking. Its not any different when neither provide privacy which is what i was pointing out.

Probably should point out what MS charges for the OS itself, as in they do not provide services for free either.
 
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SpyNetGirl

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Jan 30, 2023
109
Sure microsoft can be different if you want to run around in the background disabling all the services that track everything you do. It was what im referring too. At least google is straight about their ads and tracking. Its not any different when neither provide privacy which is what i was pointing out.

You think Microsoft is hiding about their privacy practices? You actually think that all the countries in the world they are allowed to do business in, specially EU, are just going to sit there and do nothing if Microsoft was violating their own privacy rules?

stop believing all those stories about Windows telemetry, tracking, spying etc., for your own good.

You want to read about Microsoft privacy? here you go Microsoft Privacy Statement – Microsoft privacy
 
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ForgottenSeer 103564

You think Microsoft is hiding about their privacy practices? You actually think that all the countries in the world they are allowed to do business in, specially EU, are just going to sit there and do nothing if Microsoft was violating their own privacy rules?

stop believing all those stories about Windows telemetry, tracking, spying etc., for your own good.

You want to read about Microsoft privacy? here you go Microsoft Privacy Statement – Microsoft privacy
I'm quite aware of how MS works. It didn't get to be what it is by providing free services.

I just read a bit back that MS is going make a OS version like Chrome OS, all of this wouldn't have anything to do with monopoly or money would it? I mean, call it what it is, I do.
 
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SpyNetGirl

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Jan 30, 2023
109
I'm quite aware of how MS works. It didn't get to be what it is by providing free services.

I just read a bit back that MS is going make a OS version like Chrome OS, all of this wouldn't have anything to do with monopoly or money would it? I mean, call it what it is, I do.

All of these new things you keep mentioning go back to what I already said above.
 
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ForgottenSeer 103564

All of these new things you keep mentioning go back to what I already said above.
Look, you can paint me as a foil wearing window licker for all I care, but I understand telemetry data, data scraping, packets, firewalls, my name, the air I breath ect.

I'm going to put it at simplest terms then leave it at this. All those countries complaining won't mess with MS because they all rely on their OS for business.

Also, if anyone here uses Bing search and MS Edge, do you use an ad blocker with it, and why would you if they didn't do the exact same thing.

Simple isn't it

It's a do as I say not as I do world though as in this scenario where MS states don't scrape our scraped data.

 
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