Google recently announced its new system to track data while preserving privacy, known as the FLoC system, and removing third-party cookies from the Chrome browser, though it has attracted criticism from various bodies and despite Google’s claims of privacy protection. For those unwilling to let Google track their browsing habits even with this new system, there are ways to Prevent online tracking
Before we go further on this let’s first try to understand what cookies are and this new FLoc system
What are cookies ?
Let’s first understand this “cookies” , you can take it has a package which contains information about you .
It is a text containing the website’s name, and also a unique ID that represents a user such as a device ID,username, password, browsing data, and more.
And, if the you return to the website again, the website knows that you’ve already been there before and lets you resume where they left off before.
Also, if the website is an e-commerce site, you will know that you have previously visited and purchased these items.
Using the Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm, they would have created a more personal profile with data such as email ID, mobile number, age, purchase history, and more) linked to you.
With such information, it will show targeted ads for products that are likely to appeal to you and lead to a purchase.
The creation of a personally identifiable profile is exactly why user privacy advocates oppose cookies on browsers and websites.
What is FLoC?
Google claims that FLoC will allow users to remain anonymous as they browse across websites and also improve privacy by allowing publishers to present relevant ads to large groups (called cohorts).
Instead of tracking individually, browsing history will be grouped with others with similar interests. Also, every time there is a change in browsing behaviour, the user is teamed up with other groups. This will help in curbing companies from creating individual profiles.
It also noted that FLoC will not share browsing history with anyone or even Google. It adds that the company’s browser Chrome will go a step ahead to analyse if the user’s browsing history needs to be tracked or not in certain sensitive scenarios.
For instance, if the user goes to web pages with sensitive topics, such as medical websites or websites with political or religious content, at a high rate, Chrome will neither create individual profiles nor put them in groups (cohorts).
But according to some browsers, such as Brave or DuckDuckGo, which are privacy centric, they want Google to just stop tracking user behaviour. Creating groups to protect individual users is just hogwash, as tracking of users still continues in the new FLoC system.
The way Google Track is still complex, involves many steps
How to block Google trackers on Chrome and prevent online tracking
1: Blocking Cookies
- Open Google Chrome on your computer and open Settings from the top-right menu.
- Under “Privacy and security,” click Cookies and other site data.
- you can choose to “Block all cookies (not recommended)”, or “Block third party cookies in Incognito.” You can also choose to “Block third-party cookies.”
Do note that with cookie blocking, you can no longer have your preferences or data among individual websites saved. However, you can continue to use Google for all web searches.
Sadly, Chrome does not offer any other way to block FLoC tracking online. but its leading to our second method which is to use other search engines
Method 2: Use other search engines such as DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo by default blocks all trackers online, including the FLoC system from Google.
- You can head over to Settings and choose DuckDuckGo as your default search engine.
- DuckDuckGo by default blocks all trackers on the browser. Users can turn it off, if required.
- From the Chrome Web Store, you can download the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials extension. Once installed, it will set the default search engine to DuckDuckGo.
This method, however, prevents you from using Google for all your searches. Additionally, you will need to be accustomed to the DuckDuckGo ecosystem to navigate your way around the web.
These methods must Prevent Online Tracking in most cases, though Google Tracking can help to somewhat manage individual data into a group.
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