Google Chrome to resume site-breaking SameSite Cookie policy in July

The coronavirus crisis has put many things on hold, from businesses to software updates. Last month, Google put many of its plans for Chrome on hold to avoid the risk of breaking people’s browsers or websites. Now it thinks it has given people enough breathing room for a while and has already restarted Chrome updates, including one that could potentially break some websites. Then again, that might be for the best considering how it would force site owners to clean up their cookies.

Google has long been waging a war against bad cookies (while retaining the use of “good” cookies) in its campaign to make Web ads more acceptable. In particular, it has been trying to put a stop to the practice of cross-site tracking using these cookies and its SameSite Cookie policy is its latest weapon in that arsenal.

In a nutshell, the policy will enforce that cookies not coming from the same site (hence the name) should be properly tagged and delivered via HTTPS. This would ensure some amount of security and privacy for users even while still serving content pulled from elsewhere. This is necessary for even things like embedding YouTube clips on web pages to work with tighter security.

Just like with blocking cookies, this could break sites that don’t comply with this Chrome feature. That covers both sites that are using, unknowingly or otherwise, malicious tracking cookies as well as sites that have failed to update their content after Google’s warnings. Google thinks their time is up.

Starting July 14, the SameSite cookie enforcement will be enabled for Chrome versions 80 and later. Google is confident that majority of sites are already prepared for making this switch. It should also be noted that this isn’t a Web standard and users of other browsers won’t experience any breakage nor any protection against those third-party cookies.

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