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This Website Lets You Know If Google Is Spying On You

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 12 Apr 2021 10:12
This Website Lets You Know If Google Is Spying On YouPixabay/PA Images

First Apple introduced a feature to let you know if your phone was listening to you, now there’s a way of finding out if Google is spying on you.

Despite Google making most of its money through advertisements, last month it announced it was going to make changes to how it collects users’ personal data.

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In a bid to do this, the world’s largest search engine company announced that it was going to trial something named FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) – a new technology that promised to improve Google’s users’ anonymity while still collecting their browsing information.

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It’s believed to involve just 0.5% of users in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States

While Google said FLoC would only be a pilot run, it failed to explain to people how they could opt out of it if they wanted to, BGR reports.

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) quickly criticised Google’s use of FLoC and expressed concerns that it could affect people’s privacy.

amifloced.orgamifloced.org

Since Google announced that it was trying out FLoC, a counter website has been created that gives people the opportunity to find out if they’re being spied on by the tech giant.

Named Am I FLoCed?, the site that’s been created by the EFF has a sole purpose is to tell you if you’re being used in the trial. The description on the site itself reads, ‘This page will try to detect whether you’ve been made a guinea pig in Google’s ad-tech experiment.’

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The site then gives users the option to check if they’ve being FLoCed by having it check their FLoC ID.

Am I FLoCed? also further explains how Google’s alleged spyware works. It says:

FLoC runs in your browser. It uses your browsing history from the past week to assign you to a group with other “similar” people around the world. Each group receives a label, called a FLoC ID, which is supposed to capture meaningful information about your habits and interests. FLoC then displays this label to everyone you interact with on the web. This makes it easier to identify you with browser fingerprinting, and it gives trackers a head start on profiling you.

Since Google failed to tell its users how to opt of the scheme, Am I FLoCed? detailed how to do so and it’s as simple as disabling all your third-party cookies.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Technology, Data, Google, Now

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  1. BGR

    This site tells you if Google’s new ad tech is ‘spying’ on you