There is a reason why I want to explain how to disable Google Chrome’s FLoC tracking and it is related to the concept of online advertising. Since the internet has become the place we know today, full of services and information, an apparently free business has promptly established itself. In the huge multitude of sites on the net, very few have the so-called “paywall” and therefore are freely accessible, as long as they live with advertising. It is no coincidence that there is the saying ” if you don’t pay for it, you are the product ” and in this case we trade our privacy to get all this for free. At present, everything revolves around so-called cookies, with which companies can track our navigation and profile us. In this way, the advertisements that we will see online will be consistent with our profile, recommending products that are likely to be of interest to us.
Google introduces FLoC tracking in Chrome – here’s how to turn it off
However, for some time now, several companies have been trying to enhance privacy to get users to use their products. The main case is undoubtedly that of Apple, which with the update to iOS 14.5 introduced the tracking block . And as more and more companies and browsers will start doing this, Google has studied a new way to adapt the tracking to these blocks.
What is FLoC
The result is called Federated Learning of Cohorts , abbreviated to FLoC. This feature is currently being tested to be included in Google Chrome, also because other browsers plan to block it. FLoC’s mechanism consists in examining your browsing history and consequently placing you in a group of people to whom certain advertisements will be targeted. The method is always the same, but no longer based on personal tracking cookies. A profiling that could thus be less accurate but that should affect privacy less as it no longer creates an ad personam profiling.
However, there was no lack of criticism, especially for Google’s choice to enable it by default without asking its users if they want to use it or not. For example, Mozilla and Vivaldi have no plans to implement the FLoC system in their respective browsers, while Microsoft and Apple are still in the evaluation phase. Also because there are still doubts about the actual legitimacy of Google’s move, as it could infringe the laws of the European GDPR.
How to block FLoC tracking
In light of all these doubts, I decided to write a guide in which I explain very simply how to disable the FLoC tracking present in Google Chrome. Basically it’s already on, so here’s what to do to turn it off. Please note that the setting is synchronized with your Google account. This means that deactivating it from the PC, for example, if you use the same Google account on your smartphone then you will find it already deactivated on the phone (or vice versa). If you use the same account, therefore, you will just need to follow only one of the two procedures illustrated here.
- Open the Google Chrome app
- Copy / paste in the top bar “ chrome: // settings / privacySandbox ” and press Enter
- On the screen that appears, disable the toggle ” Privacy Sandbox “
- Open the Google Chrome app
- Click on the 3 dots at the top right
- Select the item ” Setting “
- Scroll down and select ” Privacy and security “
- Click on ” Privacy Sandbox “
- Disable the ” Sandbox Privacy Tests ” toggle