NEWS15 January 2020

Google announces privacy changes

News North America Privacy Technology

US – Google has outlined plans to drop support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser within the next two years.  

Google chrome_crop

The company announced the plan in a blog post, saying it is part of its wider aims to make the web more private for users, including its ‘Privacy Sandbox’ initiative proposed in 2019.

Third-party cookies are used to track users around the web to learn their browsing habits and provide insights for advertisers.

Google said it is working to develop alternatives with a view to phasing out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. The company wants to do this within two years, and will begin testing new approaches to conversion measurement and personalisation later this year.

Justin Schuh, director, Chrome Engineering, said: “We are confident that with continued iteration and feedback, privacy-preserving and open-standard mechanisms like the Privacy Sandbox can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete.”

From February, Google will also limit cross-site tracking by treating cookies that don’t include a SameSite label as first-party only, and require cookies labelled for third-party use to be accessed over HTTPS. It is also developing measures to discourage ‘fingerprinting’, a technique used to track people without cookies.

Schuh said: “Users are demanding greater privacy – including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used – and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands. Some browsers have reacted to these concerns by blocking third-party cookies, but we believe this has unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem.”