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Mozilla Stands Against Google's New Advertising Tech
Mozilla 反对谷歌的新广告技术

Google and privacy, relevant keywords, isn't that right?

3 min read

2024 年 4 月 4 日。下午 5:21 阅读 3 分钟

Ah, online advertising.. 😅

Big corporations cannot stop profiting from it, and small businesses cannot afford not to invest in it. It is a kind of unsavory relationship that usually benefits the parties involved; such as the advertiser (sometimes the product owner too) and a potential customer (user).

But, occasionally, this relationship goes too much into the gray, when a user is targeted because of their online activity to be served with targeted advertisements on the various sites they visit.

Depending on who you ask, the consensus is that too much targeted ads is a sign of aggressive tracking practices that don't belong in this age of digital privacy awareness.

That is partly why Google has been trying so hard to clean up their act, with many major moves recently. One such move related to their Protected Audience API has got Mozilla at odds with the search engine giant.
这就是为什么谷歌一直在努力整顿自己的行为,最近采取了许多重大举措。其中一项与受保护的受众 API 相关的举措导致 Mozilla 与这家搜索引擎巨头发生争执。

So, let's dive in and see what's happening.

I am using the term “Advertisers” to generalize all kinds of online advertisement-related service providers.

Google's Protected Audience: Why the Fuss?

Formerly known as the FLEDGE API, the Protected Audience API is part of Google's Privacy Sandbox initiative that is supposed to facilitate a more privacy-friendly way of serving advertisements to users.
Protected Audience API 以前称为 FLEDGE API,是 Google 隐私沙箱计划的一部分,该计划旨在促进以更加保护隐私的方式向用户提供广告服务。

It works by having a separate secure space on the browser (Chrome, for example), where the user's interests are stored, and the advertisers would have to go through an ad auction run by the user's browser to serve relevant ads.
它的工作原理是在浏览器(例如 Chrome)上有一个单独的安全空间,其中存储用户的兴趣,广告商必须通过用户浏览器运行的广告拍卖来提供相关广告。

As a result of that, the user's interests and browsing activity on different sites is kept away from the prying eyes of advertisers, who would typically track users across multiple sites.

This came about after Google got started with their Privacy Sandbox initiative, and revealed that they would completely disable third-party cookies on Chrome in the second half of 2024. Doing that would lock out all cookies except the ones from the site a user was visiting.
这是在 Google 开始实施隐私沙盒计划后发生的,并透露他们将在 2024 年下半年完全禁用 Chrome 上的第三方 cookie。这样做将锁定除用户正在访问的网站之外的所有 cookie 。

As one might imagine, this became an issue. Many advertisers were concerned that blocking third-party cookies would give Google the upper hand, as their services (including Chrome) are some of the most used ones across the globe.
正如人们可能想象的那样,这成为了一个问题。许多广告商担心阻止第三方 cookie 会让 Google 占据上风,因为他们的服务(包括 Chrome)是全球最常用的服务之一。

Nonetheless, amid mounting pressures from competition regulatory bodies like the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, Google appears to be fast-tracking the implementation of Protected Audience.

But, Mozilla is not convinced, saying that this “fails to meet its own privacy goals”. And, they are backing up their claim with some pretty convincing reasoning.
但是,Mozilla 并不相信,称这“未能实现其自身的隐私目标”。而且,他们用一些相当令人信服的推理来支持他们的主张。

They present an example where they show that Protected Audience creates an “alternative information dimension” where any site a user visits could send information related to how they interacted with it.

This is not limited to just one, but multiple sites can do the same.
a diagram by mozilla showing how they see the protected audience api working compared to the usual approach of handling tracking
Credit: Mozilla 图片来源:Mozilla

Subsequently, sites could then process that data to decide on the advertisements that they would serve.

However, only the user can see into this dimension, with advertisers/websites being able to open so-called “windows” inside this for the users to peek into (read as being shown relevant ads).

Mozilla agrees that something like this could be a good thing for users. But, they think that Protected Audience fails in two key ways.
Mozilla 同意这样的事情对用户来说可能是一件好事。但是,他们认为受保护的受众在两个关键方面失败了。

The first is that Protected Audience has too many leaks.

Google, in an attempt to please advertising companies, had to loosen many important protections that resulted in a design that Mozilla claims has “no privacy”.
为了取悦广告公司,谷歌不得不放松许多重要的保护措施,从而导致了 Mozilla 声称“没有隐私”的设计。

Even though Google plans to work on many of these leaks, Mozilla thinks that there exist information leaks with no actual fix in sight.
尽管谷歌计划解决其中的许多泄露问题,但 Mozilla 认为存在信息泄露,而且目前还没有实际解决办法。

That leads us to the second issue; Protected Audience might get stronger, sure, but targeted advertising is also a key factor.

Even though information collection was made harder, advertisers still have enough access to run targeted advertisements to better manipulate a user's decision-making.

Mozilla also added that: Mozilla 还补充说:

The positive vision of the effect that Protected Audience might have on competition in advertising is one that focuses on market imbalance. However, it takes an

advertising-centric view of the system that is narrow.
In a sense, Protected Audience is the product of the conjunction of competitive pressure on privacy and antitrust fears, so this is a natural conclusion.

And I agree.  并且我同意。

I feel that this move is targeted towards appeasing the various competition regulatory authorities, while also being on the good side of the many advertisers who aim to capitalize on the huge user base of Google services such as Chrome.

Sadly, in all of this, you as the user have to trade in your data for seeing some targeted ad that may or not benefit your daily life, irrespective of Protected Audience being implemented.

💭 What are your thoughts on Google's new ad tech? Please let me know in the comments below!

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