So after thinking a lot about FLOC and how it impacts and changes the advertisement environment, I have more questions than answers.
And at least from my current understanding, it becomes worse for organisations that want to advertise, which might includes your government trying to educate citizens about things, while not really making things much better for individual privacy, due to the ability to correlate cohort IDs to identify users.
While a lot of people decided to set a header to opt-out from FLOC tracking for their users, I decided to embrace it and let people make up their own mind.
For those interested in the banner, here are the implementation details:
It's kept simple and efficient. It'll only show up, when your browser implements the API. Enjoy!
I just realised that implicitly I built a FLOC tester :D
Want to check if your browser implements FLOC? Just go to https://shivering-isles.com and if a banner shows up warning you about FLOC, your browser is affected. Amazing!
Related: if you want to test if the detection works, you can use the following command in (Fedora) Linux with #chromium:
`chromium-browser "--user-data-dir=$(mktemp -d)" --enable-blink-features=InterestCohortAPI --enable-features="FederatedLearningOfCohorts:update_interval/10s/minimum_history_domain_size_required/1,FlocIdSortingLshBasedComputation,InterestCohortFeaturePolicy"
(It'll enable the feature in a temporary profile that is used until you terminate the command)
And it's done! A 💯% legitimate implementation of Google's FLoC standard for Firefox in an extension:
Finally we can have this awesome private ad company gift in a browser that is not chromium based!
And of course it's a completely serious and not at all satirical/sarcastic implementation. I swear!
GitHub Pages "blocks" Google's FLoC now by adding the opt-out header.
I don't think this is any reason to celebrate. #Google pulled two tricks here:
1. It identified all websites that are against this standard, making it easy to rank them worse.
2. Provided a technical solution to a social problem making all the tech elitist feel good by adding a header instead of protesting.
By the way, I wrote a little article on my blog how Google's FLoC incentivises more tracking, not less.
TL;DR: Cohorts are supposed to be meaningless and rely on first-party tracking to "make sense out of them" in order to continue existing business practice's of targeted advertisement. Resulting on harder-to-block tracking for all users and with strong disadvantages for advertisers competing with Google.
@sheogorath "technical solution to a social problem" hits the nail on the head.
Not only that, but some people are placing the blame on website hosts/owners as if they choose to add floc...
@sheogorath Yeah when this was first announced all I could really think was "that's...not how consent works" :(
@sheogorath laughter they say is a nifty means in defeating overarching obstacles. So, is it Microsoft flipping off Google?
Also, i suppose it's worth thanking the alphabet for not requiring a google account for the withdrawal procedure. Nor asking to solve a dozen captchas.
The opt outs are so comfy, i can reclining in the chair, watching my privacy along with the rest of the traces of civil behavior being snatched away!
@doenietzomoeilijk I honestly believe they didn't, but obviously they don't mind. It's business after all and more money is more money.
@sheogorath Agreed, but how do we protest against this?
Petition and pressure Google to roll back? EFF is already doing that, but I don't think Google is going to listen.
Artificially break your site on Chrome? Ask visitors to switch browsers? Even if there's a way of doing that without breaking Brave et al, I doubt enough people will be willing to do that.
Show a polite message without breaking the site? Most people will just dismiss it like they dismiss a cookie banner.
@dubiousdisc I already showed how to do a banner above: https://microblog.shivering-isles.com/@sheogorath/106072444241251745
Make people aware, that their browser is spying in them. But don't judge them or try to explain it to them. Make them curious. Make them interested in the topic themselves.
The goal is not to safe those who don't care, but reach those who might care. Google is not an unbeatable overlord. We can fight them with regulations (e.g. GDPR), with smart people and more.
@sheogorath Well said. I hadn't noticed this was a larger thread, my bad. Thanks for all the work you have done!
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