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Privacy advocacy group urges users to adjust Google Chrome settings amidst privacy concerns

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SAN FRANCISCO, California – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a renowned privacy advocacy group based in San Francisco, California, is strongly recommending that users take action to safeguard their online privacy. The organization has suggested that individuals consider disabling certain settings within Google Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox or explore alternative browsers such as Mozilla Firefox or Apple Safari.

The Privacy Sandbox in Google Chrome is not an isolated or private space but rather a collection of technologies designed for advertising, analytics, spam prevention, and tracking. One of its key goals is to replace third-party cookies, although the online advertising industry remains uncertain about Google’s substitute technologies.

Google states that the Privacy Sandbox has five primary objectives: combatting online spam and fraud, delivering relevant advertising and content, measuring ad effectiveness, enhancing privacy between websites, and restricting covert tracking. However, EFF is particularly concerned about the proposal known as “Topics,” an API designed for interest-based advertising derived from users’ browsing history in Chrome.

“Topics still track your internet usage for Google’s behavioral advertising,” EFF stated in a release.

As of now, “Topics” are accessible within the Google Chrome browser. Microsoft is considering implementing some Privacy Sandbox technologies in its Edge browser, which uses the Chromium engine from Chrome. In contrast, Mozilla and Apple have rejected “Topics” in Firefox and Safari, respectively, due to privacy concerns.

EFF contends that Google should not use the term “privacy” at all. A representative from EFF remarked, “Google branding its technology as ‘privacy’ is misleading to users.”

EFF has provided instructions on how users can opt out of “Topics,” ad retargeting, and granting advertisers access to their browser data for ad performance tracking. To do this, users can navigate to Chrome’s privacy settings page by clicking the three-dot menu icon in Chrome, selecting “Settings,” then “Privacy and Security,” and finally “Privacy in Advertising.” Alternatively, users can enter the URL “chrome://settings/adPrivacy” into the address bar and press Enter.

Google has not provided a formal response to EFF’s claims but has accused EFF of spreading fear and uncertainty among users.

As the debate over online privacy continues, EFF’s guidance offers users a way to take more control over their online experiences and protect their personal data from being used for targeted advertising. Users are encouraged to evaluate their browser settings and consider the implications of Google’s Privacy Sandbox technologies on their digital privacy.

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