Marketing 3 min read

Google's Privacy Sandbox Will Limit Advertisers' Access to User Data

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Google has announced a new initiative to protect the data of its users. Called the Privacy Sandbox, it’s a set of new standards aimed at enhancing the privacy of people on the Internet.

Justin Schuh, Director of Google Chrome Engineering, said in a post:

“Technology that publishers and advertisers use to make advertising even more relevant to people is now being used far beyond its original design intent – to a point where some data practices don’t match up to user expectations for privacy. Recently, some other browsers have attempted to address this problem, but without an agreed-upon set of standards, attempts to improve user privacy are having unintended consequences.”

To date, blocking cookies has been the easiest method of preventing third-party entities from spying on our Internet transactions. However, the approach also has its downsides that affect not just the users, but publishers as well.

Privacy Sandbox for a More Private Web

According to Schuh, blocking cookies has encouraged the use of “opaque techniques” like fingerprinting. Unfortunately, developers have already found a way to use the tiny pieces of information provided by fingerprinting technologies to collect user data.

Aside from that, blocking cookies also prevents publishers from delivering relevant ads to people. Schuh noted that publishers invest in freely accessible content because they are confident that their advertisements will support the cost.

“If this funding is cut, we are concerned that we will see much less accessible content for everyone. Recent studies have shown that when advertising is made less relevant by removing cookies, funding for publishers falls by 52% on average.”

Google hopes to solve this problem with Privacy Sandbox. Schuh said that they would be working with the web community to develop new standards that would push Internet privacy forward while keeping support for free content.

“Our goal is to create a set of standards that is more consistent with users’ expectations of privacy.”

The company has already made some early proposals for building the Privacy Sandbox. One of them is the privacy budget that would limit websites’ capability to call APIs.

In this setup, websites could only call APIs until they reveal enough information to “narrow a user down to a group sufficiently large enough to maintain anonymity.” After this, other attempts to call APIs to disclose further information would be blocked by the browser.

The other proposals include the conversion measurement, trust token API, FLoC, and the privacy model for the web. Google is now encouraging Internet users, publishers, advertisers, developers, and other members of the web community to share feedback regarding the Privacy Sandbox initiative.

Read More: Google Says It’s Not Killing Ad Blockers, Just Making Them Safer

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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