Mar 9, 2021

Google Will Stop Using ‘Cookies’ to Track People; Alumnus Ashkan Soltani Says It May Be a Good Signal

From CNN Business

'Cookies' track your every move online. Now there's a fight over what should replace them

By Brian Fung

For decades, "cookies" have been tracking you around the web. They're the snippets of code that uniquely identify your browser and allow those shoe ads to follow you from site to site after you visit an online storefront. Soon, their time may be up.

Third-party cookies have increasingly fallen by the wayside as the public has become more protective of privacy rights in an age of algorithms and data. Some major browsers including Firefox and Safari now block third-party cookies by default, further reducing their usefulness to advertisers. And Google has already said it's planning to do the same in its browser, Chrome.

But last week Google (GOOGL) went further, announcing it will soon stop tracking individual people's web browsing altogether for advertising purposes when Chrome finally drops third-party cookies...

"For me, it's a good step and a good signal, but I'd want to see the final package of solutions," said Ashkan Soltani, an independent privacy and security researcher and a former chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission.

One of the most important factors to watch, Soltani said, is how the user controls are designed. Do they offer a one-click mechanism for users to opt out of all data sharing? Can users pick and choose what types of data to share with advertisers? Are the controls easy for an average person to find and use?


Ashkan Soltani is a MIMS alumnus (2009), and a distinguished fellow at Georgetown Law Center’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy. 

Last updated:

March 16, 2021