Google Chrome may soon block third-party tracking cookies, which monitor your behavior while browsing the web and following it through different sites. The data they collect can be used to create a profile that can be sold to advertisers, with or without their knowledge or consent.
Interestingly, this new flag appeared only two days after the release of Firefox 69, which now blocks all third-party tracking cookies by default through its Advanced Tracking Protection feature.
As Bleeping Computer reports, the latest version of Chrome Canary has a flag (an experimental feature) called ‘Enable the improved user interface of cookie controls’. When this indicator is enabled, a new option called ‘Block third-party cookies’ will be added to the Cookies and Site Data screen, which can be accessed at chrome: // settings / content / cookies.
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This is an interesting move by Google, which faces a difficult challenge as privacy becomes a growing priority. You get a lot of your revenue from advertising, which works much better when it is targeted, but users are not too interested in collecting information that allows that orientation to occur.
In its proposal, Google defended cookies, saying that if they are blocked, advertising companies will move to more dire methods such as fingerprints to track user activity. He also noted that “… blocking cookies without other means of delivering relevant advertisements significantly reduces the main means of financing publishers, which endangers the future of the vibrant web.”
A few weeks ago, Google proposed an idea for a ‘privacy litter box’, which would allow Chrome to collect information about user browsing and present targeted ads without giving advertisers more details than are strictly necessary.
However, Google’s suggestions for different ways of directing advertising would depend on huge changes across the industry that would take many years to implement (if accepted). It may go against Google’s instincts, but the new cookie controls for Chrome would be a much faster and easier way to address the problem, and would put users back in control of their own data.