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Data protection as an argument for Google's abandonment of 3rd party cookies – precise advertising still works ...

In the last few days, a piece of news went viral and was even worth an article in the Tagesschau, a big German news station, which is causing uncertainty in many companies. There will be no more cookie tracking at Google in the future.  So no more option to target consumers online? Not at all - only a different approach will be chosen. In the future, there will be "FLoC" (Federated Learning of Cohorts). This involves clustering large groups of people and identifying commonalities. This allows individuals to effectively "disappear" into the crowd, as their browsing history remains protected by on-device processing; the quality of the clustering algorithm will certainly be crucial. Google's ad team is confident that advertisers can expect at least 95 percent of previous conversions. In other words, they will still have opportunities to specifically evaluate the success of their campaigns. However, user behavior can no longer be tracked across website boundaries.

We naturally find this development very good for data protection reasons. After all, that's our heartfelt concern at REISSWOLF: to always protect our customers' data in the best possible way. And to read that a Google executive like David Temkin writes in a blog: "To keep the Internet open and accessible to all, we all need to do more to protect privacy – and that means not only an end to third-party cookies, but also to any technology used to track individuals as they surf the web ..." – that gives hope that many other major online players will follow suit. However, the pioneer here is not Google at all – but rather various browser manufacturers who have already been technically preventing third-party tracking for some time and in Europe, of course, also the GDPR or the still pending, but certainly coming e-privacy regulation. The fact is that according to current online surveys, 72% feel tracked on the web and 81% rate the risk of data collection higher than the benefit. This cannot simply be ignored.

It should also be noted that the new postulate of more data protection at Google is not viewed uncritically or even challenged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF is regarded as the leading non-profit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. For example, it criticizes the fact that a planned interface for measuring conversions will cause the browser to write a value in a table every time the user is shown an advertisement. If the user then visits the target URL of the advertisement, this value is transmitted to the advertiser. So far, so good. The problem is that Google currently wants to allow a far too large amount of data per advertisement. This means that each ad played out could theoretically receive a unique recognition ID and thus, in the end, user behavior could be tracked again.

So there's still room for improvement in terms of data protection – but the prospect of not having to read through and adapt the cookie instructions every time you visit a website is definitely a step in the right direction. Before you ask: Yes, we know that most people on the web simply click on "Accept All" and this is also the case for us for the time being - however, we also have really only Google Analytics in pseudonymized use for statistical evaluations of page usage. Because providing you with relevant content at all times is another matter close to our hearts besides data protection. Checkable at any time on

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