This is an important turning point for a business that thrives on collecting and reselling our data. Google has set itself the goal of cleaning up in two years in third-party cookies, these tracers that keep in mind our preferences and our clicks during a visit to a site.
Useful, browser cookies are used so that you do not have to type your email and password when you regularly access a site.
But third-party cookies are used by advertisers to follow you from site to site to put you in front of tailor-made ads: targeted advertising.
Denounced by the defenders of privacy, these cookies are essential in the economic model of free internet based on advertising.
Behind this Google announcement effect, three questions arise about a major change for the consultation of sites on the most popular browser in the world, Chrome.
Is this the end of “tracking” or monitoring of Internet users?
In order to offer targeted advertising which incites to purchase, advertisers have used, since the democratization of the Internet, tracers which record the journey of a surfer and his preferences.
With its “Privacy Sandbox” program launched in August, Google would eventually allow its customers and advertisers to broadcast targeted messages. While avoiding, in theory, people to be tracked by these “third party cookies” when using the Chrome browser.
How? ‘Or’ What ? By excluding, in stages, these tracers generated by the websites visited on the most used web browser in France. The competition is already doing it: Apple’s Safari browser has been offering this protection option for some time.
“We support the process of deleting cookies from third-party tracking, which are harmful to users,” explains Tanvi Vyas, responsible for confidentiality for the Firefox browser from competitor Mozilla. “But the measures envisaged by Google have no significant impact on the elimination of tracking. This is why we block cookies by default in Firefox, ”he recalls.
Google indeed wants to remove a bad practice but does not question the principle of advertising “tracking”. “The end of targeted advertising remains to be demonstrated as the advertising targeting techniques are diverse and varied,” also relativizes Gaëtan Goldberg, lawyer specializing in personal data law of None Of Your Business (NOYB) who had condemned the Californian giant.
What change for the Chrome user?
The transition will be gradual and not really noticeable for a user, but the level of protection of his private life will increase mechanically.
The approach could, for example, complicate the task of the tools used by commercial sites such as “IP tracking” which tracks the origin of the consumer and offers them prices based on their profile.
“We can hope for fewer violations of the right to respect for private life on the part of unscrupulous advertising targeting companies”, assures lawyer Gaëtan Goldberg of NOYB.
“The only gain for the user is to be reassured on the trust they can place in Google services that collect their data,” notes Sarah Wanquet, Data Protection Officer for LiveRamp France, an American company that uses third-party cookies.
Why does it take two years?
“We would like to see Google deploy anti-tracking protections for its users now, which will continue to be tracked for the next two years,” criticizes Mozilla, which has positioned itself for years as an opponent of GAFA.
Google is launching a pharaonic project which will change the structure of site consultation and will force the online advertising market to undergo radical reform. Google has also not specified what it intends to replace these third-party “cookies”, but said “to work actively” so that developers and publishers have the opportunity to experiment with new mechanisms.
By leaving 24 months of adaptation to companies that make a living from these third-party cookies, such as the French giant in the Criteo sector, Google “is taking a more ethical approach to targeted advertising and putting pressure on players who do not go into this sense ”according to Sarah Wanquet, also a lawyer at LiveRamp.
“It is a way of letting professionals adapt and it is under constraint that innovation is the best,” she predicted.