GitHub is added to list of companies that oppose in the upcoming Google changes. Earlier this year, Google announced that it would stop tracking people through ads and implement a new system called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).
FLoC is a newer technology released by Google, which aims to replace third-party cookies used by ad networks and analytics platforms to track users on the web. FLoC, which focuses on privacy protection, aims to replace surveillance technologies such as third-party cookies and localStorage with the so-called "Cohorts".
Unlike servers (or ad networks) that monitor users around the World Wide Web and record their browsing history, FLoC delivers this responsibility to the user's individual web browser.
For example, each Google Chrome web browser instance selected as part of the FLoC test would be filled with specific "cohorts" or groups that best represent recent web browsing habits. Thousands of browsers with identical browsing history (belonging to the same "cortex") stored locally will have a shared "cortex" ID, which will be shared on a site when requested.
In particular, Google pointed out the following in a blog post: "FLoC does not share your browsing history with Google or anyone else. It differs from third-party cookies, which allow companies to follow you individually on different sites. FLoC works on your device without sharing your browsing history. It is important that everyone in the advertising ecosystem, including Google advertising products, has the same access to FLoC. "
However, the FLoC application did not appear to have evolved as planned by Google. Earlier this month, the DuckDuckGo - search engine that focuses on privacy protection - announced an update for its extension Privacy Essentials, in order to block FLoC. In addition, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) posted one article in which he characterized FLoC as one "Horrible idea". Followed by Vivaldi and Brave, who announced that they will not enable FLoC in their respective browsers. Last week, the WordPress decided in turn to add to the list, stating its intention to treat FLoC as "Security threat".
Now, decided GitHub to block FLoC. Specifically, the company published one article to which she confirms her intention to add a HTTP header to block FLoC on its platform. Today, Bleeping Computer noticed that both github.com as well as the github.io return the header “Permissions-Policy: interest-cohort = ()”. As described in the FLoC documentation, companies can use this header to block FLoC on their respective sites. Interestingly, GitHub did not say anything about FLoC or why it wants to oppose this Google innovation.
FLoC will allow Google to categorize users into a cohort based on their online activities, while maintaining their anonymity while at the same time displaying targeted ads. However, as the EFF noted in its article, the FLoC is likely to lead to various types of discrimination.
According to Google, FLoC is currently expected to be available to a small percentage of users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines and the USA.