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GitHub is blocking FLoC

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Microsoft-owned GitHub (opens in new tab) is the latest online service to block Google's FLoC (opens in new tab) though it has done so without even mentioning the browser-based tracking feature.

The company recently announced that it was rolling out a new HTTP header for all sites created in GitHub Pages. In an extremely short blog post (opens in new tab), the company provided further details on the new HTTP header, saying:

“All GitHub Pages sites served from the domain will now have a Permissions-Policy: interest-cohort=() header set. Pages sites using a custom domain will not be impacted.”

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The only indication that this new HTTP header has something to do with FLoC is the inclusion of the word cohort. FLoC itself stands for Federated Learning of Cohorts (opens in new tab) and this new advertising technology was developed by Google to replace third-party cookies for ad tracking through a new API.

Blocking FLoC's cohorts

GitHub's decision to block FLoC's cohorts makes sense as its parent company Microsoft recently took similar steps (opens in new tab) to disable the new advertising technology in its Edge (opens in new tab) browser.

In addition to disabling FLoC in GitHub Pages, GitHub's main website also now uses this new HTTP header according to BleepingComputer (opens in new tab). This means that the company doesn't want its users to be added to Google's cohorts when they visit its website.

While FLoC is now rolling out to a small percentage of users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines and the US, you can use the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) AMIFloced site (opens in new tab) to check if you have been issued a FLoC ID and added to one of Google's cohorts.

Although we've yet to hear from Google regarding whether or not its roll out of FLoC has been a success yet, so far Brave (opens in new tab), Vivaldi (opens in new tab), the EFF, DuckDuckGo (opens in new tab) and WordPress (opens in new tab) have all openly voiced their concerns surrounding this new advertising technology.

Via BleepingComputer (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.