back to article Google herds FLoC back to the lab for undisclosed post-third-party-cookie ad tech modifications

Google has decided to let the initial test of its FLoC ad technology conclude in a few days to work on improvements – though it isn't inclined to share feedback from test participants. Privacy advocates would prefer if the online ad giant provided more insight into the test results, since Google's ongoing ad infrastructure …

  1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    Firefox...

    I love Firefox. I love that I can install AdBlockPlus and No Script and suppress much (but alas not all) of the snooping these firms want to do on my machine.

    No Script in particular is brilliant -- it stops an HTTP GET request from ever going to some parasitical company, so they never know I've gone to a website they hoped they could scrape my data from. I access a website and it never shows on their logs. Brilliant!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ashkan Soltani's comments are spot on.

    We don't care if something is called a cookie; what we have a problem with is the business model behind it.

    Companies should not profit from the collection of information about us.

  3. Falmari Silver badge
    Stop

    Privacy XOR Targeted ads

    You can’t have targeted ads and privacy it is one or the other. Targeted ads by their very nature require invasion of privacy, the clue is in the target part of the name.

    You can’t target people without knowing something about them to differentiate them from others. The narrower you target, the more you must know, therefore the more data you must collect and store and the easier it becomes to identify an individual.

    No amount of FLoCing about by Google is going to square the circle of targeted ads and privacy. Be that third party cookies, FLoC, FLEDGE or any other avian themed birdbrained idea. Because collecting data to target ads is an invasion of privacy.

    I just wish our Governments would wake up and see this data collection for what it is and make it illegal, but I won’t hold my breath.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy XOR Targeted ads

      Absolutely right.

      And therefore targeted ads should definitely be illegal.

      The world managed very well for centuries with context-based advertising.

    2. Meeker Morgan

      Re: Privacy XOR Targeted ads

      It's not about respecting privacy, it's about skirting ever tougher privacy laws.

      It's an arms race.

    3. hayzoos

      Re: Privacy XOR Targeted ads

      Targeted ads mean more profits for ad companies. They are not going to kill their cash cow. Advertisers are being lied to on everything about targeted ads so ad companies can keep selling them.

      Targeted ads are largely ineffective. So all this infrastructure to support targeted ads is waste. And the infrastructure is enormous and inefficient. It is implemented in such a way as to minimize the cost to the ad companies.

      Just look at the explosion of javascript in web pages. How many CPU cycles are wasted in all the inefficient javascript barfed upon web browsers? How much energy is wasted producing those cycles? How much percentage of "making a living" time is required to pay for that energy to power the CPU to run the dungheap of javascript to support cesspool of targeted ads?

      There are efforts underway to convince policymakers and lawmakers that the real evil is targeted ads and the explosion of privacy invasions is merely a symptom. Cure the illness and the symptoms go away.

      Seek out one or more of those efforts and add your voice. Just don't google it, I prefer the duck side.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ashkan Soltani, a privacy researcher

    If you're into privacy related topics, Ashkan Soltani's blog is a great read!

    https://ashkansoltani.org/blog/

  5. Chris G

    Imagine you are being chased by a pack of wolves, you run into the forest with the thought of climbing a tree, only to be caught by a huge grizzly bear.

    Just before biting your head off, the bear pauses and says ' You know you ought to be grateful, I'm saving you from the wolves'.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      I'm stealing this for the next time someone attempts to defend ransomware scum.

  6. 502 bad gateway
    Unhappy

    Whatever happened to W3C

    I’ve taken my eye of the ball, but it sounds increasingly likely that everyone involved in the process of creating web standards is there to line their pockets and no one represents us.

  7. rachel_norfolk

    Opting out until there’s more to see

    Having been involved in opting Drupal core from working with FLoC, I’m happy to see Google back at the drawing board.

    I guess we will have to see if their second attempt is any less scary than their first — and then adjust the default behaviour of Content Management Systems accordingly.

  8. Robert Grant Silver badge

    > Soltani pointed to how the decision of a single Netscape engineer to allow third-party cookies to be set by default laid the groundwork for the ad industry.

    Is this right? Would it be so different if each website had a first party cookie that linked to a shared backend ad service?

  9. Ace2 Silver badge

    Google is an infestation

    Lately I’ve noticed that emails I receive from one particular mailing list have links to Zoom meetings, but somehow the embedded URL has been changed to be a Google snoop-link.

    They are evil and need to be eradicated. Or dismembered so thoroughly that the search engine biz no longer cares to track which kind of TP your family uses.

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