Browser Security-Calling For Revolution

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In a recent blog post, Google announced that it is going to make third party cookies obsolete. Call it- an advisory, alert or warning or whatever you want, but google has made its intentions clear and going to scrap third party cookies to strengthen the privacy of web users. Privacy has become pivotal element for every organisation and how can google run behind in that race especially when it’s a company of data nuclear. In the recently concluded CES event, it came into light that google has plan to scrap the third party cookies in two years of span time which is 2022.

In this decision, google has included the interest of web-users, advertisers and of course self. As there are still two years left in vanishing the third party cookies, till then google has said that it will continue to keep it more secure and to continue to find less invasive alternatives for advertisers so that we can all have a “healthy, ad-supported web.” Said Schuh- Director of Engineering, Chrome.

What is Cookie and Third party cookie?

Cookie is said to be a piece of data which are stored in users’ browser. This cookie helps the advertising companies to track your interests and other related stuff. Cookie can contain the session details along with your IP address, visit time, surfed items etc.

Now let’s understand what is third party cookie. When a resource on a web page accesses a cookie that matches the site the user is visiting, this is same-site or “first party” context. But when an external resource on a web page accesses a cookie that does not match the site domain, this is cross-site or “third-party” context.

Let’s say you are visiting a shopping website and checking for the mobile phones. The third party cookie will be stored contains the session information in your system/hard drive. Now the advertising company of mobiles, will come to know the requirement and interest of yours i.e. budget, specs, colour etc and best on that it will create the set of ads again and will use it lure you again when you visit the web again.

So these third party cookies were said be unsafe and was creating a lot of noise and issues. Among those issues, user privacy was being compromised. Bombarding the user with the ads which he/she by mistakenly saw on the web. Google had announced a project named “Privacy Sandbox” back in august and they are claiming that we are going to control and limit the third party cookies starting this February.

The pressure of maintaining user privacy

Well, for some it has come as a shocker- ads company and for many it has come as a big relief- a fare amount of user community. The revolution was already on the cards years back when there were millions of XSS, CSRF and other cross site vulnerabilities reported on a regular basis. Some of them are still being detected but the number has gone down significantly.

Apple has always put the user privacy in focus and they are not ashamed of marketing that fact which is indeed a good thing. Safari had already blocked these third party cookie back in 2017 and FireFox was no behind following the footsteps of Apple and blocked the third party cookies last year-2019. The pressure was building on Google as the majority of browser surfing share goes to it with 66% and the users were seeking the same thing for a long time.

Amidst various compliances like GDPR and CCPA and privacy being in focus, this move was always on the cards. When google announced the “Privacy Sandbox” project back in August, people were expecting some actions on blocking third party cookies as part of the privacy program mentioned by the tech giant.

The Chaos

With the announcement of scrapping the third party cookie in couple of years, the advertising industry and the retailers are in shock. The retailers are said to be the most affected as the ad companies will promote the message anyhow about the product but its the retailers who will suffer and will be impacted badly. The move is called a disruptive one by the market and there is no logic required to understand that. For more than a decade, the companies were heavily reliant on third party cookies and using it as a weapon to trick and lure the customers to increase the business. The chaos will be continued until they find an alternative of the third party cookies.

It goes without saying the the browsers are taking the security to the next level and actually it is good and was need of an hour. Well, in the fight between legal advisors, ad marketers and google, it is customer who will benefit the most and will sit back and enjoy the drama.

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