Google brings in new privacy policies to make Chrome extensions better

Image credit: Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock)

One of the best things about the Chrome web browser is the sheer number of extensions available in the Chrome Web Store that add additional features – such as ad blocking and VPNs.

However, some of them collect user data without users knowing – or granting permission – and Google wants to stop this.

To do this, the company behind Chrome has announced a range of new policies that will come into effect later this year that aim to limit the sort of data extensions can collect.

According to Google, these policies will apply to both new and existing extensions, and any extension that does not comply will be removed from the Chrome Web Store.

Follow the rules

The new privacy policies for Chrome extensions mean that extensions can only request appropriate data needed to implement their features, and if there’s more than one permission that could be used to implement a feature, the extension must use the permission that accesses the least amount of data.

So, if there’s a Chrome extension that doesn’t need to know your location to work, then it won’t be able to ask permission for access to your location data.

Extension developers will also need to publish in-depth privacy policies, and this now includes extensions that handle personal communications and user-provided content, as well as be transparent about how they handle the data.

Any Chrome extensions that are in breach of the policies will not only be removed from the store, but they will also be disabled on user’s PCs. So, if later this year you find that one of the extensions you use in Chrome has stopped working, it might mean that it has failed to comply with the new privacy policies.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.