WordPress could treat Google FloC as a security issue

The reaction against Google’s Federal Learning Cohort (FLoC) continued, with a suggestion raised in WordPress Core to block a controversial alternative identifier of independent cookies by default.

A WordPress proposal would see how a blogging system uses its weight to thwart FLoC.

“WordPress has the power of about 41% of the web – and this community can help combat racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ + discrimination and discrimination against people with mental illness with four lines of code,” it said.

For users who want to enable FLoC, the proposal states that these users could probably do it themselves, and a little more code would allow FLoC to be turned on and off in blog settings.

“When balancing the interests of stakeholders, the needs of website administrators who are not even aware that this is something they need to mitigate – and the interests of users and visitors to those websites are simply more enticing,” the proposal states.

To pass the block on to current users, WordPress suggested treating FLoC as a security issue and putting a background next to it, instead of waiting until the next big release in July.

“It is currently 5.8. Scheduled only for July 2021. FLoC is likely to be unveiled this month,” it said.

“Furthermore, a significant number of WordPress sites are only updated to smaller versions. By rewinding, we can protect more sites and more visitors to those sites – and increase the impact.”

FLoC has received some harsh criticism, mostly based on how it will share a summary of recent search engine history with marketing experts, which independent cookies could try, but it is never guaranteed to be able to do so.

“Its basic design involves sharing new information with advertisers,” said the Chromium-based browser maker last week.

“You could visit a website that relates to a very personal topic that may or may not use FLoC ads, and now every other website you visit gets its own FLoC ID, which shows that you’ve visited that particular type of website.”

Vivaldi said FLoC has very serious implications for people living in an environment where aspects of their personality, such as sexuality, political views or religion, are persecuted.

“Everyone can become part of your FLoC ID,” it says.

“It’s not about privacy anymore, it’s moving on. It crosses the line in terms of personal safety.

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation said the era of third-party cookies was over and it was now decided whether to allow users to decide what information to share or to put a label on users that is “rich in meaning for those who know”. “.

“Their recent history, distilled into several parts, has been‘ democratized ’and is shared with dozens of nameless actors who participate in the service of each website,” it says.

“Users start each interaction with a confession: here’s what I did this week, please treat me.”

Associated coverage