Not dead yet: The long goodbye of third-party cookies

Reading Time: 10 minutes

The demise of cookies has been long foretold. Ever since they were invented in 1994, questions have been raised over their privacy implications and potential misuse; yet they have persisted, unloved but indispensable. However, it seems like the death knell has at last sounded for third-party cookies, with both Apple and Google finally taking concrete steps to rein in their use. But given that third-party cookies and mobile Ad IDs still underpin a huge amount of the web and its economics, what will life be like without them? And more importantly, will it actually be better than it was before?

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GDPR, the sequel: Get ready for CCPA

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Amidst all the craziness of the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to forget that the world keeps turning, and that mundane things like new privacy laws coming into force are still happening. The impact of COVID-19 on global privacy practices is the stuff of a future post, but in the meantime, let’s distract ourselves with a little light reading about California’s new privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and how it compares vs GDPR.

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Google’s Ban on Third-party Cookies Could Actually Harm User Privacy

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There was quite a lot of coverage earlier this month when Google announced that they would be phasing out support for third-party cookies in Chrome within the next two years. The stock price of firms like Criteo, which rely heavily on third-party cookie data for their core business, dipped sharply. The general consensus has been that this was a welcome move in terms of user privacy – but nixing third-party cookies could actually harm user privacy, by making it harder to identify irresponsible sharing of user data.

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GDPR: Breaking the Third-party Data Habit

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Ah, GDPR. Like the guy (or girl) you matched with on Tinder six months ago who got less interesting the more you got to know them, it just won’t go away. It keeps sliding into your DMs with teasing headlines like, “Data Protection Authority of Baden-Württemberg Issues First German Fine Under the GDPR” or “Washington Post offers invalid cookie consent under EU rules“. And there you were thinking you were done with it back in May, when you sent all your users that “Please respond to this email to stay on our mailing list” email and threw that giant banner about cookies up on your website.

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The seven people you need on your data team

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Congratulations! You just got the call – you’ve been asked to start a data team to extract valuable customer insights from your product usage, improve your company’s marketing effectiveness, or make your boss look all “data-savvy” (hopefully not just the last one of these). And even better, you’ve been given carte blanche to go hire … Read more

Internet Explorer 8 RC1: Porn mode gets a face-lift

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Now if that headline doesn’t get me some search ranking juice, nothing will – though my contextual ads (left) are likely to be less impressed. I was going to post this earlier in the week, but Eric Peterson’s swashbuckling defense of cookies (and my hand-wringing response)  intervened. As it turns out, though, that debate is … Read more

Eric Peterson Rides Again

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Eric Peterson has an impassioned post on his blog in which he defends the Obama Administration’s decision to use persistent cookies for tracking behavior on the site. He directs particular ire at an article by Chris Soghoian at CNET from November which questioned whether it was a smart move for the (then) Obama Transition … Read more

‘Anonymous’ Netflix Prize data not so anonymous after all

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Does entropic de-anonymization of sparse microdata set your pulse racing? If so, you’re gonna love this paper [PDF] by Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov of the University of Texas at Austin. Even if your stats math is as rusty as mine, however, the paper makes fascinating reading – and is surprisingly readable, if you skip … Read more

Phorm gets the all-clear from the UK Goverment (kinda)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

[Update 10/1/08: BT has announced that it will commence a new trial with Phorm to start September 30 in the UK. The trial, in accordance with the conditions below, is opt-in]   Beleaguered behavioral targeting outfit Phorm appears finally to have caught a bit of a lucky break – the UK Government has (belatedly) responded … Read more