Chrome introduces new privacy feature fenced frame to limit online user tracking

In the latest move to improve the privacy of the Chrome browser, Google is introducing a new HTML tag that prevents users from being tracked by separating embedded content from embedded pages. Currently, web browsers allow third-party iframes to communicate with the pages they are embedded in. This can be achieved through postMessage, attributes (such as size and name), and permissions.

As browser developers restrict third-party cookies to prevent user tracking, advertising companies have proposed different programming APIs so that advertisers can use interest-based advertising. These new interest-based advertising technologies include Google’s FLoC, Microsoft’s PARAKEET and Facebook’s Conversion Lift.

However, when third-party cookies are deleted, it should be impossible for these technologies to track users through the data cross-connection between the iframe and its embedder. To prevent this, Google is adding a new form of embedded iframe called fenced frame to isolate embedded content and not allow it to see user data embedded in the page.

A fenced frame is a new form of an embedded document, which enforces a boundary between embedded pages and cross-site embedded documents. This change ensures that the two websites cannot share your data, which will help prevent user tracking or other privacy threats.

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According to Google, a fenced frame has the following characteristics.

  • They are not allowed to communicate with the embedder, and vice versa, except for certain information, such as limited size information, the embedder’s top-level website, and the frame’s document URL.
  • By default, they have no storage permissions (for example, cookies, localStorage, etc.).
  • They may access some unpartitioned user data, for example, turtledove interest groups.

According to Google, fenced frames will have read-only access to some unpartitioned storage, and the API has a new element class.

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