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Google Chrome to Remove Cookies: The Week in Data News

In an exciting update, Google announced plans this week to gradually phase out cookies from its popular Chrome browser. This decision shows an increased commitment to data privacy from the company, as well as the increased compliance demands that the passage of the CCPA entails. Read on for this week’s data privacy recap.

Google to Phase Out Third-Party Cookies

A new announcement came out from Google HQ this week, and it was a big one. The company will reportedly increase privacy protection online by getting rid of third-party cookies on the Google Chrome browser by the year 2022. The news broke via a blog post from Chrome Engineering Director Justin Schuh, who explained how the company will gradually make the change. Until 2022, Google will make third-party cookies more secure and work to find somehow less intrusive ways for advertisers to get the data they need to deliver targeted ads. For the uninitiated, cookies essentially track browsing data on different websites. Ad companies have traditionally used them to build profiles for web users, amassing a composite of interests and purchase history. This move is certainly a step forward, but it can’t be seen as simply a progressive decision on the company’s part. They’re also clearly reacting to the passage of the CCPA and the heightened awareness of data privacy that the law has ushered in.

Dating Apps Sharing User Data

In a revelation that shocked many, news broke this week that several dating apps, like Grindr, Tinder, and OkCupid, share personal user data with advertisers. And these advertisers, of which there are thousands, are pulling location, age, gender, and sexual orientation data in this transaction. The report comes from the Norweigan Consumer Council as part of an effort to assess these companies data privacy compliance, especially in the wake of new legislation. “Every time you open an app like Grindr, advertisement networks get your GPS location, device identifiers and even the fact that you use a gay dating app,” Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems said. “This is an insane violation of users’ [European Union] privacy rights.” As a result, various organizations have filed complaints against Grindr and other apps for what they see as a massive privacy violation.

Scottish Police Employ ‘Cyber Kiosks’

In a development that sounds plucked out of a science-fiction novel, Scotland’s police force announced this week that they’ll be rolling out a fleet of cyber kiosks. These stations house laptop-sized devices that will allow them to quickly scan devices for relevant data. In current investigations, phones and computers can be taken from witness, suspects, and victims and scanned for evidence. These kiosks essentially speed that process up, which also means that if the devices are deemed useless, they’ll be returned to their owner quicker as well. They don’t store data thankfully, and can easily segregate data based on type and date range. Somewhat controversially, however, the kiosks can bypass passwords and lockscreens. But as the force said in a statement, they will only examine when there is “a legal basis and where it is necessary, justified and proportionate to the incident or crime under investigation.”

Netflix Uses Data to Best Studio Rivals

The streaming service turned movie studio received 17 Golden Globe Nominations and 24 Oscar nominations this year, placing them well ahead of rivals. According to Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, “choosing content and working with the creative community is a very human function, data doesn’t help you in that process, it helps you evaluate the investment.” But if one looks at the facts, it’s clear that Netflix is holding their cards close to the vest. They didn’t just invest over 140 Million into The Irishman because they believed in Martin Scorcese’s vision, they did so because they’ve run the numbers to know that it hits several key categories, like violent crime thriller and period piece, and because it’s stellar cast, including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, make it destined to garner awards attention and thereby increase the prestige of the platform. This year’s awards season demonstrates the power of this strategy. This trend also shows how Netflix has essentially brought back the monopolistic practice of vertical integration, or controlling the production, distribution and exhibition of a film. Until now, Studios had been banned from engaging in this practice since the late 1930’s.

What do you think was the most important data story of the week? Reach out to us on social media and let us know.