Google recently announced that it would phase out third-party cookies, which track activity while browsing the web, in a move the tech giant says is aimed at protecting “privacy.”
Cookies are digital tracking devices that follow you around as you surf the web, collecting data on your browsing patterns. When you visit a website through a web browser, chances are it will download a cookie onto your computer. Some internet browsers, most notably Brave, block cookies by default.
Google is banning third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, meaning companies other than the Internet giant will not be able to plant cookies on internet users through Chrome. However, the proposed policy does not eliminate cookies altogether — Google itself will still be able to use them, effectively giving itself total control over its users’ data.
Google has branded its new system the “Privacy Sandbox,” but in reality, nothing will change about the vast amount of browsing data collected through Chrome. It will simply be data that is held by Google rather than its competitors, supplementing the vast amount of personal data that it collects through other products and services, including Chromebooks, Android phones and tablets, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Maps, YouTube, and of course Google Search.
The tech giant’s recent history is riddled with scandals regarding its handling of user data. In 2018, Google was accused of engaging in a “massive and ongoing data breach that affects virtually every user on the web.” Privacy campaigners alleged that the breach caused sensitive private information, including information about peoples’ sexual orientation and disabilities, to be released.
The company has also adopted a no-holds-barred approach to obtaining data wherever it can find it. In 2019, Google somehow gained access to the private healthcare information of millions of people, without doctors or patients knowing about it.
Google Plus, the company’s short-lived Facebook competitor, suffered a data breach in 2018 (caused by an error on Google’s part, not outside attackers) that exposed the data of over 52.5 million users.
There are also signs of cooperation between Google the old-world privacy violators in the Deep State. Privacy campaigners allege that Google is working with the U.S. government to conduct warrantless digital searches on American citizens. According to the 2012 Snowden leaks, Google also failed to protect Americans’ data from the National Security Agency (NSA), which managed to break into Google’s data centers.
And yet Google, with its change to third-party cookies, now wants to persuade its users that it cares about their privacy.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.