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Google introduces Privacy Sandbox to track user data for advertisers

Luckily, there is a way to disable the new feature

You may have noticed a sudden spike in websites asking your permission to use cookies over the last few years. The influx of cookie permissions has been a result of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act of 2018, which requires advertisers to limit the amount of third-party cookies they can utilize without the user’s permission. These cookies are used to track and store information on user, such as what kinds of products they look at, to what other sites they visit, to their general browsing habits.

In an attempt to circumvent these third-party cookie limitations, Google has begun to rollout what they are calling the Privacy Sandbox, a platform that is baked in to their Chrome browser. When booting up Chrome, users now see an alert titled ‘Enhanced ad privacy in Chrome’ that goes over the details of Privacy Sandbox.

See also: Google replacing the padlock icon, as most users don’t know what it means

“We’re launching new privacy features that give you more choice over the ads you see,” the alert reads. “Chrome notes topics of interest based on your recent browsing history. Also, sites you visit can determine what you like. Later, sites can ask for this information to show you personalized ads. You can choose which topics and sites are used to show you ads.”

Note that while the alert’s two options to proceed are titled “Got It” and “Settings,” neither choice turns off Privacy Sandbox. While Google insists that the utmost privacy is kept when sharing user data with advertisers, many users are uncomfortable with their browser keeping such detail tabs on them. Luckily for these users, there is a way to opt out of Privacy Sandbox.

To disable Privacy Sandbox, go to Settings > Privacy & security > Ad privacy within Chrome’s options. From here, Privacy Sandbox’s three features (Ad topics, Site-suggested ads, and Ad measurement)  can be disabled independently of each other. To disable it completely, toggle off the three options.

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