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Privacy Outrage! Chrome 69 Uploading browsing data without a choice

With no denial to the fame and popularity it enjoys, and with all due respect to the quality of services it provides, Google still faces a lot of flak for its continued dismissal of user privacy. Though the technology giant received positive feedback towards the beauty of its material design update, and so much so that it has now pushed the same visual style to its Chrome OS and Chrome browser, it however has again faced criticism for its continued data collection (Privacy Outrage).

In the latest version of the browser  termed Chrome 69, along with the update to the look and feel of the software, Google has made some under the hood changes. Though not all of them will be considered pleasant, especially by those protective of their privacy and data.

According to users, the new version of the browser allows you to use it in two different modes. Basic and signed in. In the basic mode, your browsing history, cookies, passwords etc. are not synced across devices through the cloud. They are stored locally on your device, and as such, there is nothing special about it.

The problem arises with the signed in mode. In this mode, all your browsing data is synced to the cloud to be available across devices. This, however, gives Google a potential chance to create a user and ad profile and utilize it for different requirements. What’s more troublesome is that the moment you sign in to a Google service, it automatically signs you in to the browser as well. And the two aren’t mutually exclusive as signing out of one signs you out of the other.

Many faithful and loyal users have now given up on the incessant fight, finally giving in to the thought that it’s a moot point. However, a lot of people aren’t comfortable with the idea of having no control over their privacy. To avoid the same, we recommend:

  • Accessing the websites through Incognito mode. Or,
  • Using an alternate browser like Edge, Firefox, Opera etc.

This is not the first time that Google has done something of this sort. Earlier, several android applications were found collecting GPS data even when location services were turned off. What’s more, it has been confirmed that this behaviour of the browser is an intended change because some users were having problem in the distinction between logging into Google services and into Chrome as a browser itself.

 

P.S. There is a way to turn this off by using Chrome’s internal flags, but we cannot be sure if it will remain. The point of our post was, anyway, to highlight what’s going on with the browser.

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