Google Chrome users are currently being entered automatically into Google’s new tracking method called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). It groups you based on your interests and demographics, derived from your browsing history, to enable creepy advertising and other content targeting without third-party cookies.

There is no way to opt-out without disabling 3rd party cookies, which often breaks other websites.

Currently tens of millions of people around the world are unknowingly part of the trail. The Electronic Frontier Foundation are not a huge fan of FLoC, saying it can be used to fingerprint people more easily and then target them in other ways.

They have now set up a website called AmILFLoCed.org that will inform users if they are part of Google’s trial.

The page notes:

Google is running a Chrome “origin trial” to test out an experimental new tracking feature called Federated Learning of Cohorts (aka “FLoC”). According to Google, the trial currently affects 0.5% of users in selected regions, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States. This page will try to detect whether you’ve been made a guinea pig in Google’s ad-tech experiment.

Google intends to expand the trial to 5% of Chrome users (around 100 million people) in the near future, and then eventually everyone else.

The best defence is switching to an alternate browser that does not support FLoC, such as Edge at present.

Otherwise, you can see if Google is FloCking you by visiting the EFF’s website here.

via GHacks

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