Chrome SameSite Cookie changes rolled back to keep the Web stable

JC Torres - Apr 5, 2020, 7:35 pm CDT
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Chrome SameSite Cookie changes rolled back to keep the Web stable

The Internet has taken on a critical role in the past weeks thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, too, is the software that connects us to the Internet and to each other. During these days, it would be difficult to have such technologies break down left and right if it can be helped. That’s why Google has been making a few changes to its policies, including rolling back the privacy-related changes it has been enforcing through its SameSite Cookie policy, even if it means leaving users open to such abuses just for a while.

SameSite Cookies have become Google’s latest crusade in making ads more acceptable so you won’t have to block them. In a nutshell, it distinguishes between good SameSite Cookies that originate from the website itself and bad Cross-Site Tracking Cookies that follow you wherever you go. That’s mostly done for the purpose of building a user profile in the name of “personalized” (read: targeted) ads.

Since February, Google has slowly been making moves on blocking such errant cookies. This mostly means breaking sites that use such tracking cookies, depending on what the user’s Chrome settings are. Of course, broken sites are unusable sites and some of those sites happen to include, only a bit ironically, financial and banking websites.

Now isn’t the time to be breaking websites, though, Google has decided, so it’s rolling back those changes so that sites using tracking cookies will work again as before. The browser maker does say that many web sites were already prepared for this SameSite Cookie policy but it didn’t want to take any chances at this crucial time in Internet history.

Of course. that does mean that users are again at risk from some of the shenanigans that site owners pull using these cookies. It also comes at a time when there is a reported surge in hacking attempts now that hackers know more people are working at home with their insecure Wi-Fi networks.


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