Privacy web browser Brave and search engine DuckDuckGo recently announced plans to disable Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) tracking method.
Brave on Monday in a post announced it has removed FLoC from the Nightly version of Brave for desktop and Android.
“The worst aspect of FLoC is that it materially harms user privacy under the guise of being privacy-friendly,” Brave Senior Privacy Researcher Peter Snyder and CEO and Co-Founder Brendan Eich explain in a post.
The two explain why they think it’s harmful to web users, writing that “FLoC shares information about your browsing behavior with sites and advertisers that otherwise wouldn’t have access to that information.”
DuckDuckGo announced Friday that it has updated its web browser extension to block Google’s FLoC tracking in Chrome that groups users based on interests and demographics gleaned from their browsing history.
DuckDuckGo Search is now configured to opt-out of FLoC for users of the extension or the app. It is an enhancement to the tracker blocking, and in line with the extension's purpose of protecting privacy in the Chrome browser, according to the company.
33Across CEO and Co-Founder Eric Wheeler believes it’s time to "let the cookie die." In my opinion, that is correct, but it's a little more complicated than that.
Google began testing FLoC in millions of Chrome browsers, silently opting in Chrome users and sorting them into groups also known as cohorts based on behavior and other attributes, and then sharing the data with third-party trackers and advertisers around the web, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
EFF launched a website that detects when FLoC is being used in a Chrome browser.
“This makes it easier to identify you with browser fingerprinting, and it gives trackers a head start on profiling you,” writes the EFF, alerting users that they can opt out of the Chrome trial by disabling third-party cookies.