Brave and Vivaldi are blocking google FLoC

FLoC is Google’s alternative to third-party cookies and is based on machine learning. This will allow the browser, any browser, to anonymously study how users are browsing and then group them into ‘cohorts’. Following this, you will be served ads based on your cohort and not on your individual data. So, you are still going to be targeted with ads but in a more anonymous manner.

Google claims that this will improve user privacy since this “federated learning” happens on the user’s device and artificial intelligence-based learning involves sharing lesser users than what happens with third-party cookies. If something like this gets widely adopted by ad companies and services, it should “protect users” from tracking methods that are more intrusive than third-party cookies, like browser fingerprinting.

Who is against it?

Privacy-focused browsers DuckDuckGo, Brave, and Vivaldi have all warned users against FLoC and have said that they are going to block it on their end.

Brave says that Google FLoC has a design that does not respect the customer’s privacy and consent. It has been designed to provide browsing behavior and interest data with any website that users may interact with, and this process does not involve fully informed consent.

Vivaldi, another popular Chromium-based web browser, has also made its stance clear regarding the status of FLoC. The company said in a Reddit thread that the FLoC experiment does not work in Vivaldi. It happens because for FLoC to work, some features need to be enabled under the hood, but Vivaldi does not provide those options. The company also added that it plans to stop the entire FLoC component from being a part of the browser, regardless of how Google may implement it. Considering that Brave and Vivaldi have been privacy-focused browsers since their beginnings, the decision to stay away from FLoC is not surprising.

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