Skip to main content

Mozilla slams Google's latest browser privacy plans

Image depicting a hand on a scanner
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Mozilla CTO Eric Rescorla has raised several concerns over Google’s Privacy Budget proposal to restrict fingerprinting.

Google’s Privacy Budget is a proposal to restrict fingerprinting a user by measuring the amount of information requested by websites, eventually blocking access to such revealing details once a certain limit is exceeded.

“Our analysis identifies a number of potential issues with the proposal that call its practicality into question,” writes Rescorla noting that it’s particularly hard to correctly estimate the amount of leaked information.

TechRadar needs you!

We're looking at how our readers use VPNs with streaming sites like Netflix so we can improve our content and offer better advice. This survey won't take more than 60 seconds of your time, and we'd hugely appreciate if you'd share your experiences with us.

>> Click here to start the survey in a new window <<

Mozilla isn’t the only browser that’s raised eyebrows over Google’s new proposal, and other Chrome-rivals such as Brave have shared their objections as well, according to The Register.

Finger in every pie

A part of Google’s larger Privacy Sandbox initiative to develop new standards for websites in order to offer a personalized experience without jeopardizing a user’s privacy, the Privacy Budget proposal aims to reign in browser fingerprinting.

Browser fingerprinting is an online tracking technique that involves collecting various data points that internet users make available to websites through their browsers, which can be used to track users across the web.

While Rescorla thinks Google’s proposal is “an attractive idea,” he’s concerned about the feasibility of the plan, sharing his objections in a detailed technical analysis.

In addition to raising concerns about the difficulty in estimating the amount of information leaked by a particular fingerprinting information, such as screen resolution, or type of browser, Rescorla also believes that its enforcement is likely to lead to website breakages.

Furthermore he adds that the plan itself could perhaps be used to track users defeating its purpose altogether.

"We appreciate Mozilla’s engagement throughout this process as we all work to build a more private web without third party cookies and other forms of invasive tracking. This is our collaborative process working as intended," a Google spokesperson told The Register welcoming Mozilla’s feedback. 

Via The Register

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.