Google Chrome will soon limit the kinds of data browser extensions can access

Google Chrome
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Google has confirmed that it will change its policy regarding how Chrome extensions access user data next year. The move should improve online privacy and may even limit the appeal of anonymous browsers.

Speaking at its Chrome Dev summit, Google confirmed that immediately prior to the release of Chrome 88 on January 18, developers will be required to publicly display their privacy practices for each browser extension and will be limited in what they can do with the data they collect.

The changes could have a major impact on the Google Chrome ecosystem, impacting developers, businesses, and individual users. Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser by market share and its Web Store is currently home to some 250,000 extensions. Although the new privacy policy will not come into force until next year, that doesn’t leave too long to make the necessary changes.

Privacy protections

Looking more closely at the proposed changes, from next year Chrome users will be able to choose which websites each extension can access data from. Currently, the extension itself is able to make that decision, but from January, granting extension access will no longer be the default setting.

The other change means that developers must clearly state what user data they collect and why. In addition, user data can never be sold, used for creditworthiness checks, or to deliver personalized advertising.

Google Chrome is not the only web browser looking to clean up the extensions it offers. Earlier this month, Microsoft’s Edge browser discovered that several malicious plug-ins were mimicking popular VPN apps.

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Via VentureBeat

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.