WordPress developers plan to automatically block FLoC

Last week, we talked about how developers of browsVivaldi and Brave, DuckDuckGo and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have opposed Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) technology and provided tools to block it, and now the WordPress developers plan to block FLoC.

The fact is that Google recently announced plans to implement the FLoC feature, which should replace third-party cookies used by advertising networks and analytics platforms to track users.

FLoC was immediately criticized by EFF experts, calling it a “terrible idea“, because Chrome, in fact, will share a summary of the recent activity of each user with marketers. According to experts, with the implementation of FLoC, Google is simply replacing one privacy risk with another.

Now the WordPress developers have also expressed their displeasure with FLoC. They write that they view the new technology as a security issue and can block it by default on sites running their CMS.

The developers are concerned that many people are completely unaware of the new tracking technology and will automatically allow it to work without fully understanding what this decision will entail. Because of this, in the interests of users, WordPress authors suggest to automatically disable FLoC.

“WordPress powers approximately 41% of the Internet, and this community can help fight racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ + discrimination and discrimination against people with mental illness with just four lines of code”, — the developers write.

WordPress plan to block FLoC
WordPress plans to block FLoC with four lines of code, causing the CMS to send a custom HTTP request header telling the browser to disable FLoC for this site.

It is reported that administrators will be able to enable this technology if they wish. It is assumed that those who know about FloC and want to use it will figure it out on their own. But it’s also suggested to add a setting to WordPress to allow admins to control whether FLoC is allowed.

Updates are planned to be made in WordPress 5.8, which is scheduled for release in July 2021, but so far, the developers are asking the community for feedback and inviting everyone to discussion. It is also considering introducing FLoC locking into earlier versions of the CMS.

Let me remind you that we also talked about the fact that Firefox bug allowed stealing cookies from Android devices.

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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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