Updates The Privacy Sandbox for Chromium and Chrome

SecurityNightmares

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The Chromium team and Google are working on a new feature to block third-party cookies, among other things. Also to prevent information from being collected by small elements embedded on web pages. This feature is called Google Privacy Sandbox.

This new standard aims to separate first-party cookies from third-party cookies and delete the latter, thus improving privacy. It is still all in the early stages and the Chromium team is also still looking for improvements that the community can contribute.


The first settings for this have already appeared in Google Chrome, but still without a function. In the 89.0.4353.0 there was already the flag "Privacy Sandbox Settings", but still without effects. Now in 89.0.4364.1 the Privacy Sandbox appears under Settings -> Privacy and Security when the flag is activated.

In the new window the window appears but without functions. A link leads directly to the Chromium page with more information. It is expected that this new function will then be completely finished in 2022.

It will be interesting to see how the Chromium team and Google will implement this new function and what advantages it will have compared to the previous possibilities.

(Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version))
Source: Datenschutz-Sandbox (Privacy Sandbox) als Chromium Projekt im Chrome Canary enthalten | Deskmodder.de

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Gandalf_The_Grey

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Google prepares more Privacy Sandbox trials as early testing shows promise:
About a year and a half ago, Google announced that it was setting out to create a set of standards that would allow advertisers and marketers to promote their products effectively on the web, while also being more conscious of user privacy. Called Privacy Sandbox, the initiative has been in development since then, and the company shared some updates on it today.

Perhaps most notable is that Google has been testing something called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). This is a way for browsers to assign a user to a cohort based on their interests, without exposing them directly. Essentially, FLoC allows a browser to locally analyze the user's habits without sending them to a server, which then groups the user into a cohort, a set of users with similar profiles. These cohorts are designed to include thousands of people so as to avoid exposing individual users, and only the cohort is exposed to marketers.

Google's testing has shown that advertisers can expect to make at least 95% as many conversions per dollar spent compared to cookie-based advertising, so ads can live on and be effective without violating user privacy. Following the success of Google's testing, Google says it will be opening up an origin trial for the feature starting with Chrome 89, coming in March. It will also begin testing the feature with advertisers on Google Ads in the second quarter.

Google is also pushing forward with other new APIs and proposals that hope to render third-party cookies obsolete. One of the proposals is FLEDGE, which is designed to enable companies to target prior visitors on their sites using a dedicated "trusted server" to store information about ad campaigns. Another proposal would help advertisers measure conversion without using third-party cookies, again preserving the user's privacy. There's also Gnatcatcher, which would help prevent user fingerprinting by websites. Finally, the Trust Token API has been in testing to help prevent ad fraud and will be in an origin trial in Chrome 89.

Google says it will keep working with the W3C and share more of its progress with Privacy Sandbox throughout the year. The goal is for these proposals to eventually become standards for all browsers to follow.
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Google’s FLoC Is a Terrible Idea:
The third-party cookie is dying, and Google is trying to create its replacement.

No one should mourn the death of the cookie as we know it. For more than two decades, the third-party cookie has been the lynchpin in a shadowy, seedy, multi-billion dollar advertising-surveillance industry on the Web; phasing out tracking cookies and other persistent third-party identifiers is long overdue. However, as the foundations shift beneath the advertising industry, its biggest players are determined to land on their feet.

Google is leading the charge to replace third-party cookies with a new suite of technologies to target ads on the Web. And some of its proposals show that it hasn’t learned the right lessons from the ongoing backlash to the surveillance business model. This post will focus on one of those proposals, FLoC, which is perhaps the most ambitious—and potentially the most harmful.

FLoC is meant to be a new way to make your browser do the profiling that third-party trackers used to do themselves: in this case, boiling down your recent browsing activity into a behavioral label, and then sharing it with websites and advertisers. The technology will avoid the privacy risks of third-party cookies, but it will create new ones in the process. It may also exacerbate many of the worst non-privacy problems with behavioral ads, including discrimination and predatory targeting.

Google’s pitch to privacy advocates is that a world with FLoC (and other elements of the “privacy sandbox”) will be better than the world we have today, where data brokers and ad-tech giants track and profile with impunity. But that framing is based on a false premise that we have to choose between “old tracking” and “new tracking.” It’s not either-or. Instead of re-inventing the tracking wheel, we should imagine a better world without the myriad problems of targeted ads.

We stand at a fork in the road. Behind us is the era of the third-party cookie, perhaps the Web’s biggest mistake. Ahead of us are two possible futures.

In one, users get to decide what information to share with each site they choose to interact with. No one needs to worry that their past browsing will be held against them—or leveraged to manipulate them—when they next open a tab.

In the other, each user’s behavior follows them from site to site as a label, inscrutable at a glance but rich with meaning to those in the know. Their recent history, distilled into a few bits, is “democratized” and shared with dozens of nameless actors that take part in the service of each web page. Users begin every interaction with a confession: here’s what I’ve been up to this week, please treat me accordingly.

Users and advocates must reject FLoC and other misguided attempts to reinvent behavioral targeting. We implore Google to abandon FLoC and redirect its effort towards building a truly user-friendly Web.
Full post by the EFF is available here:
 

Lenny_Fox

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Marketing defines a cohort as a group of people who share a defining characteristic (year of birth or study) and/or interest (e.g busty MILF's, or Great British/ Bake Off). Google makes live so easy for marketeers, next phase is that we get ear tags (like cows and goats) or subcutaneous rfid-tags (like cats and dogs).
 

silversurfer

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Today, a new piece of web technology — Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) — will start to roll out as a developer origin trial in Chrome. Keeping in mind the importance of “and,” FLoC is a new approach to interest-based advertising that both improves privacy and gives publishers a tool they need for viable advertising business models. FLoC is still in development and we expect it to evolve based on input from the web community and learnings from this initial trial.

Here’s a bit more information on how FLoC currently protects your privacy:
  • You’re part of a crowd. FLoC allows you to remain anonymous as you browse across websites and also improves privacy by allowing publishers to present relevant ads to large groups (called cohorts). Cohorts are defined by similarities in browsing history, but they’re not based on who you are individually. In fact, which cohort you are in frequently changes as your browsing history changes. Of course, when you want an individual experience, you can still sign into websites and share the personal information you choose.
  • FLoC doesn’t share your browsing history with Google or anyone. With FLoC, your browser determines which cohort corresponds most closely to your recent web browsing history, grouping you with thousands of other people who have similar browsing histories. The identification number of the cohort is the only thing provided when requested by a site. This is different from third-party cookies, which allow companies to follow you individually across different sites. FLoC works on your device without your browsing history being shared. Importantly, everyone in the ads ecosystem, including Google’s own advertising products, will have the same access to FLoC.
  • Chrome browser won’t create groups that it deems sensitive. Before a cohort becomes eligible, Chrome analyzes it to see if the cohort is visiting pages with sensitive topics, such as medical websites or websites with political or religious content, at a high rate. If so, Chrome ensures that the cohort isn’t used, without learning which sensitive topics users were interested in. We have created a detailed technical paper on how this works. And of course, sites can also opt out of FLoC, meaning the browser will not include visits to that site when determining a cohort.
 
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