New Google Chrome browser security plan slammed by experts

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Google has received Internet-wide backlash for plans it has drawn up which consider the implementation of what it calls a Web Environment Integrity (WEI) API.

The four authors behind the WEI explainer article explain how such an API would allow servers to “evaluate the authenticity of the device” in order to prevent some types of fraud, however comments on the GitHub page were largely negative.

Among the many complaints, some users raised concerns about surveillance and discrimination, while others called for approval by regulatory bodies and indeed for Google to compare the preposition to the W3C code of Ethics.

Google backlash

To add insult to injury, Google is now facing criticism from rival browser makers, including some that use the Chromium foundations.

Brave co-founder and CEO (and ex-Mozilla CEO) Brendan Eich pointed out on Twitter that the browser will not be shipping with support for Google’s proposed API, comparing it to other “junk” that Google puts into Chromium which Brave disables.

Firefox developer Brian Grinstead posted on a GitHub thread that “Mozilla opposes this proposal,” suggesting that other avenues for detecting fraud and invalid traffic should be explored.

Vivaldi developer Julien Picalausa called the result of Google’s developers’ work “toxic” and “dangerous,” but in a glimmer of hope, Picalausa suggests that the EU will almost certainly want to look into the effects of the WEI API should it be given the green flag by Google.

So far, Apple and its workers have remained quiet on the matter. We gave the company the opportunity to share its thoughts on Google’s plans, but no response has been received as yet.

We also asked Google whether it had anything further to add beyond last week’s comment, when a company spokesperson told us that the program had been paused, and directed us in the face of early backlash to a response by the explainer article’s author, which concluded:

“We welcome collaboration on a solution for scaled anti-abuse that respects user privacy, while maintaining the open nature of the web.”

Again, Google did not immediately respond to our request. Further updates will be posted here.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!