The online search giant Google may stop using “cookies” and instead deploy its own proprietary method of tracking Internet-user activity, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“We believe that technological enhancements can improve users’ security while ensuring the Web remains economically viable,” a Google spokesperson told the Journal. “We and others have a number of concepts in this area, but they’re all very early stages.”

The announcement immediately raised concern in the online advertising sector, which has been built up largely around the use of cookies to develop user profiles for targeted ads. “Essentially the data about users will be in the hands of just a few companies,” a concerned chief technology officer told the Journal.

Privacy advocates raised alarm as well. Though Google claims its proposal will enhance user privacy, just how it will do that with codes unique to each individual that allow companies to track online activity even…

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