Consumer Watchdog slams Google on privacy

Chrome is a very naughty browser and should pay more attention in class
Chrome is a very naughty browser and should pay more attention in class

An American nonprofit consumer protection group says that Google's new browser, Chrome, "poses an unprecedented threat to consumers."

The Consumer Watchdog organisation has three main issues with Chrome, which it says "could mark the end of real user control and choice online."

It is worried about communications with Google that are occurring without users' full understanding, consent or control, the blurring of the distinction between local and cloud computing, and Chrome's Incognito mode that "lulls consumers into a false sense of security that their actions are completely private and free from prying eyes when in fact they are not."

Information sent from inside computers: bad

Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court says: "Google's new browser and software are actually sending information from inside our computers to its servers."

Court's rant continues: "State Attorneys General need to take action to protect consumers' privacy and make sure that computer users have the ability to opt-out of Google's web and browse anonymously."

In essence, Consumer Watchdog is calling for an overhaul to Chrome's Incognito mode as follows:

"Incognito mode should default to SSL connections, provide an automatic IP anonymizing service, enforce a no-log policy on all Google servers including Google Analytics, as well as disable auto-saving, suggestions, and all other features that use asynchronous event handlers other than button and link click."

It should, of course, also make the tea and do the washing up before it leaves.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.