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GitHub joins the anti-FLoC bloc, won't support Google's new tracking tech

GitHub will block Google's FLoC.
GitHub will block Google's FLoC. (GitHub)

The Microsoft-owned code hosting and collaboration platform is not the first company to block Google's new tracking technology, which is still being tested on a small number of users. 

Google’s decision to replace third-party cookies with its new Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) system has not been well received by major tech companies. From browsers to search engines, many services have publicly committed to blocking the technology and the latest company to do so is GitHub.

Read more: Google’s FLoC: What is it and why so many other browsers are against it

In a post published on Tuesday, GitHub informed users of the addition of an HTTP header that would block FLoC on the code hosting platform. The HTTP header for github.com as well the alternate domain github.io return both return the header"Permissions-Policy: interest-cohort=()". Where the average user is concerned, Google’s FLoC tracking will be blocked on any website or webpage hosted on these two domains.

If haven’t heard about FLoC yet, it’s probably because the technology is still being tested by Google. The company blocked ad tracking on its Chrome web browser, and began testing the FLoC system powered by machine learning, designed to anonymously study users browsing and then put them in groups or “cohorts”. Because users are in these groups, advertising will be based on the cohorts and not on individual user’s data. However, the move has invited criticism from privacy advocates and been opposed by many tech companies.

Also read: WordPress says it will disable Google’s Floc ad-tracking technology

The Microsoft owned code hosting and collaboration platform is not the first company to block Google’s new data tracking tool. Brave, an alternative privacy-focused browser has previously stated it will not enable FLoC, while popular search engine DuckDuckGo has updated its browser extension to block Google’s FLoC on every site. Another massive blow to FLoC has come from the blogging platform WordPress, meaning every site hosted on the company’s domain also block the tracking technology. It remains to be seen how many other companies decide to block the technology before it is released.

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