When it comes to privacy on the internet, the new word on the street is ‘FLoC’.
Led by Google, a group of businesses and advertisers is pushing a new standard that would have your browser identifying your particular group of interests by a unique ID number.
This number will be sent to all sites you visit. VOILA! No more 3rd party cookies, and supposedly more privacy!
Of course, there’s the marketing mumbo jumbo and then there’s the reality of the situation.
So: What is FLoC? How does it work? And most importantly: Will it improve your privacy??
A lot of people these days are talking about protecting their online privacy.
We have hearings going on, threats of breaking up Facebook and other Big Tech companies, data leaks, and so on.
Many people are going so far as to boycott Google (which is easier said than done).
But so far, no one – except Mozilla – is talking about the biggest threat to online privacy: Browser Fingerprints.
There are a few things you need to understand about staying safe and secure online. You need to realize what you’re actually up against.
But don’t fret, because it’s really not a big deal if you always keep in mind how things usually work.
For example, e-mail is never really safe, HTTPS doesn’t really always keep your connection secure, you can be tracked online very easily despite what most people will tell you, and you should always use some kind of anti-virus/malware protection no matter what OS you use.
And remember that the OS you use makes very little difference if you’ve taken some basic precautions… In fact, thinking you’re safe because you use Not Windows is probably a bad idea!
Everybody uses Google these days for all kinds of things. If it isn’t search, it’s Google Maps, plotting the fastest route to your vacation destination, checking the weather, or letting your Android phone track your every movement to make Google Now services “useful”.
It’s pretty much a certainty that Google is tracking your every move. This is the price you pay for all these wonderful whiz-bang features that you have come to rely upon.
If you do value your privacy, there are a few tricks you can use. But, a word of warning: it’s probably much worse than you think.
You may have heard of browser fingerprinting and its security implications. Then again, maybe not.
In either case, you probably haven’t heard the whole story.
A browser fingerprint is when, by visiting a web site, that site can generate an ID (or fingerprint) that is unique to your computer. The fingerprint can then be sent to their server, and you can be tracked.
No cookies required, no security holes required, no “Do not track me” setting can make a difference… Just plain old browsing the web will do it!
Okay, so how does this all work? And what does it mean?