On OSNews we recently reported on how Google plans to remove support for third-party cookies. Many have seen this as offering a privacy boost for users, leading to a better Web where targeted ads based on web-browser behaviour are a thing of the past. The EFF takes a different view. Google is leading the charge to replace third-party cookies with a new suite of technologies to target ads on the Web. And some of its proposals show that it hasn’t learned the right lessons from the ongoing backlash to the surveillance business model. This post will focus on one of those proposals, Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which is perhaps the most ambitious—and potentially the most harmful. FLoC is meant to be a new way to make your browser do the profiling that third-party trackers used to do themselves: in this case, boiling down your recent browsing activity into a behavioral label, and then sharing it with websites and advertisers. The technology will avoid the privacy risks of third-party cookies, but it will create new ones in the process. It may also exacerbate many of the worst non-privacy problems with behavioral ads, including discrimination and predatory targeting.
Sailfish OS has moved into its fourth generation with the release of Sailfish OS 4.0.1 Koli. On a high-level Sailfish 4 includes several security and functionality updates, the long-awaited browser update, redesigned daily usage flow of key applications, as well as a rebooted developer experience. In particular we’re proud to boast full-scale OS-level Mobile Device Management (MDM) to enable easy and manageable end-to-end trusted corporate and governmental sector deployments. There are also a bunch of other new additions, including Android 9 app support, app sandboxing, and QR code scanning, along with improved notifications, events view, contact management and more.