The great Google Chrome cookie cull begins today - here's what you need to know

Google Chrome logo on desktop and mobile
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People like privacy and are not a fan of cookies, so Google is publicly testing a new version of Chrome that completely removes third-party cookies.

This new version of its browser is being released to around 30 million people for testing and aims to cut down on the privacy concerns surrounding third-party cookies, which are traditionally used for targeted advertising.

This 30 million however only represents around one percent of Chrome’s total users, so you may have to keep opting out for much of this year before its released to a wider audience.

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Third-party cookies are used to identify the interests and habits of a website's user to determine what adverts may match their interests and be more likely to result in the user clicking on an advert.

This targeting can occur across websites building a very intimate cookie-understanding of what you like and don’t like, and generally forming a detailed demographic profile that is stored externally from the client.

This latest privacy-oriented version of the Chrome browser offers a Privacy Sandbox which - while still allowing targeted advertising to occur - instead stores your internet interests locally on your client. This list of interests is then auctioned to advertisers attempting to target specific audiences.

One potential difficulty pointed out by Dr Lukasz Olejnik from the University of Edinburgh law school, is that this new Privacy Sandbox could violate Europe’s ePrivacy Directive if the targeted adverts are shown before user consent is given, as the browser would now be collecting and storing “information” rather than “personal data.” The ePrivacy Directive is currently being updated under the ePrivacy Regulation, Olejnik points out, due to some of the Directives outdated protections. 

Google is slightly late to this party in removing third-party cookies, as other browsers such as Firefox and Safari disabled these data-sucking cookies long ago. 

Via The Register

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Before settling into journalism he worked as a Livestream Production Manager, covering games in the National Ice Hockey League for 5 years and contributing heavily to the advancement of livestreaming within the league. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but he also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motives and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks.

He has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham. His masters dissertation, titled 'Arms sales as a foreign policy tool,' argues that the export of weapon systems has been an integral part of the diplomatic toolkit used by the US, Russia and China since 1945. Benedict has also written about NATO's role in the era of hybrid warfare, the influence of interest groups on US foreign policy, and how reputational insecurity can contribute to the misuse of intelligence.

Outside of work Ben follows many sports; most notably ice hockey and rugby. When not running or climbing, Ben can most often be found deep in the shrubbery of a pub garden.