Google recently announced its decision to end third-party cookie tracking, touting Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) as a more private replacement. The FLoC concept groups users into cohorts based on their web browsing activity and then tries to target users with ads relevant to their cohort.
Placing web users in groups based on interests and even political views is nothing new. However, the supposed significance of Google’s decision is that it replaces third-party cookies. Unfortunately, third-party cookies have become insignificant if you consider the many tracking methods used by websites.
To add insult to injury, invasive tracking methods are compounded by the collection of highly unique identifiers such as users’ phone numbers, email addresses and IP addresses. These identifiers are more unique than your name, and they are used to track you across many different apps and websites. They are also used to build a profile on you. Browser fingerprinting is another tracking method.