Today, Google launched an “origin trial” of Federated Learning of Cohorts (aka FLoC), its experimental new technology for targeting ads. A switch has silently been flipped in millions of instances of

Hopefully nobody here is still using chrome on personal machines, but good to know

Google’s launch of this trial—without notice to the individuals who will be part of the test, much less their consent—is a concrete breach of user trust in service of a technology that should not exist.

@ster
119d

This is why I use Firefox with an ad-blocker. It’s far from perfect but it does the job for now

ufra
creator
5
edit-2
3d

Indeed. It probably wouldn’t go over very well if FF surreptitiously rolled out similar ad features through their own experiments infrastructure.

I’m still learning about Google’s federated learning and don’t understand how ad platforms will identify so called cohorts in other browsers

FLoC: for interest-based audiences. The API generates clusters of similar people, known as “cohorts”. Data is generated locally on the user’s browser, not by a third party. The browser shares the generated cohort data, …

It appears there are many working proposals, ideally we could voice an opinion of which is worst for the sake of the unconfigged web.

https://web.dev/digging-into-the-privacy-sandbox/

Additional Info:

[FLoC] addresses category, ads targeting based on someone’s general interests. For personalized advertising … please check out the TURTLEDOVE proposal.

with some bizarre features such as on-device bidding and bring your own untrusted server:

On-device bidding by buyers (DSPs or advertisers), based on interest-group metadata and on data loaded from a trusted server at the time of the on-device auction — with a temporary and untrusted “Bring Your Own Server” model, until a trusted-server framework is settled and in place.

On-device ad selection by the seller (an SSP or publisher), based on bids and metadata entered into the auction by the buyers.

wrt to Firefox, it is interesting to a see a Mozilla rep commenting in the issues https://github.com/WICG/floc/issues/4

For example, based on Firefox telemetry data the IP addresses of a percentage of our users changes regularly over time. With FLoC those requests that would be presented to the network with different IP addresses … (by Ehsan Akhgari ehsan, Mozilla https://github.com/ehsan)

and different browser vendors in the draft spec:

The string representation of the interest cohort version is implementation-defined. It’s recommended that the browser vendor name is part of the version (e.g. “chrome.2.1”, “v21/mozilla”), so that when exposed to the Web, there won’t be naming collisions across browser vendors. As an exception, if two browsers choose to deliberately use the same cohort assignment algorithm, they should pick some other way to give it an unambiguous name and avoid collisions. (https://wicg.github.io/floc/#interest-cohort-section)

Ephera
38d

I mean, Mozilla did actually experiment with a similar concept, but theirs was full-on private: All possible ads got downloaded, then it was decided locally which ad to show based on the browser history.

Admittedly, that doesn’t scale very well…

Flufficat
109d

I would like to add that this is added to chomium browsers too unless the maintainers of the browser stop it and also added to websites unless the websites opt out :(

I’m using Brave rn so I do hope they will take it out

Flufficat
27d

I agree with samuraikid, it looks okay but is kinda shaky, with having injected third party sponsors into the search suggestions and also integrates with block chain wallets. Sure it focusses on privacy but not quite as well as fire fox and others. Get another non chromium browser is my advice.

Yeah, that makes sense. I was using LibreWolf before I guess I will go back…

I’ve seen a lot of bullshit “I don’t agree with the views of the creator, so you shouldn’t use it”, but this is actual criticism, thanks!

samuraikid
28d

Dont’ use brave an advice

Ephera
1
edit-2
8d

deleted by creator

@blank_sl8
78d

Why can’t Google just ask you what you’re interested in and serve ads related to that? I’d be fine filling out a browser setting indicating that I’m interested mainly in computers and electronics gear and then get ads only for that.

ufra
creator
48d

Perhaps advertisers pay a premium on an idea that these trackers and analytics know users better than users know themselves…

@Ghast
58d

a concrete breach of user trust

Can’t make a breach of trust if nobody trusts you.

Gladly, this seems like the kind of thing that only works with specific browsers

@khaonuts
banned
-68d

can’t wait for the google bots that kill all the nazis

@khaonuts
banned
16d

seems there’s a lot of nazis here…

@khaonuts
banned
16d

on guard friends, we keep us safe

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