Vivaldi and Brave Web browsers Block Google’s FLoC

Google released FLoC last month as part of a developer origin trial for Chrome. This was to enhance users’ privacy, while still providing targeted ads to advertisers.

However, privacy advocates have not liked Google’s decision to use FLoC as a better option for third-party cookies. FLoC claims that users don’t need their consent to track them on websites and doesn’t collect any user’s consent.

Privacy advocates stated that rather than protecting user privacy, the system will expose users’ data even more.

FLoC (for those who don’t know) is an innovative approach to interest-based marketing that improves privacy while giving publishers the tool they need to build viable advertising businesses models.

The site allows you to surf anonymously and it also helps improve privacy as publishers can show relevant ads to larger groups (called cohorts).

FLoC does not share user browsing data with Google, or any other company. It also doesn’t create groups it considers to be sensitive.

Google’s FLoC can only be used in its Chrome browser. Chromium-based companies like Brave, Vivaldi and Vivaldi use the same foundations Google Chrome. They have therefore decided to stop Google FLoC technology from being included in their browsers.

Brave expressed its displeasure about FLoC. The company stated it opposed FLoC along with other features that could share data on users and interests without their consent. In order to safeguard its users, Brave has removed FLoC both in Brave desktop and Android Nightly.

Brave never allowed FLoC to be enabled. The additional FLoC details will now be removed from any Brave releases. Brave has also disabled FLoC from our websites in order to protect users of Chrome who are learning about Brave”, said the company in a blog.

“It’s disappointing to see Google propose and ship in Chrome smaller, more ad-tech-preserving changes instead of seizing the opportunity to create and design a privacy-first Web. This explicitly places the priority on maintaining the Web advertising ecosystem as Google perceives it.”

Brave states that FLoC is privacy-friendly but materially violates the privacy of users. Brave also notes that it could be harmful for websites and advertisers as the system favours large entities with broad audiences that are not limited to niche players.

Vivaldi said that it would not support Google’s FLoC. The company called the new data harvesting “nasty”, as well as a “privacy invasive tracking technology”. Vivaldi’s FLoC experiment isn’t possible, according to Vivaldi. It relies upon several hidden preferences, which Vivaldi doesn’t allow.

Vivaldi is committed to protecting the privacy rights and dignity of its users. No tracking or profiling is allowed in any form. Jon von Tetzchner wrote in a blog that Vivaldi’s co-founder/CEO would not permit their products to create local tracking profiles.

We understand privacy to be actual privacy. This does not mean that we want it to be the contrary. It is not possible for us to monitor how you use our products. It is easy to understand our privacy policy. We do not wish to track your movements.

Brave and Vivaldi were not the only ones who added FLoC blocking functionality to their search engine DuckDuckGo recently, citing that this is bad for privacy.

Google is yet to comment on these privacy concerns.