Mozilla vs Google: Chrome 94 violates user privacy

Google’s releasing a new version of Chrome isn’t generally great news, but Chrome 94 is an exception.

In fact, Google has implemented the Idle Detection API, a programming interface that allows sites to understand if the user who opened one of their pages is still in front of the computer or smartphone (because he is doing something) or if instead is gone.

The detection of the presence of the user is based on the execution of certain actions: it is in fact possible that the user is not interacting with a given site but is in any case using software or another application; in these cases, however, it is present.

If, on the other hand, nothing has happened for a while, or if perhaps the screensaver has started, Chrome believes that the user has moved away and, through that API, can let the sites know.

Although each site must ask for permission to use the data provided by the API, Mozilla believes that its operation creates “an opportunity for surveillance capitalism” as it “invites sites to invade aspects of the physical privacy of users. , to keep data about the user’s physical behavior for a long time, to learn the daily rhythms (such as the lunch break) and to use this data for a proactive psychological manipulation (for example by acting on the sense of hunger, emotions, choices) »as Tantek Çelik explains.

One might think that, given the rivalry between Mozilla and Google (and the ugly situation in terms of popularity that Firefox has been in for some time), the objections have an ulterior motive, beyond protecting the privacy of users.

Despite the objections, Chrome 94 is now a reality, and soon other Chromium-based browsers will integrate its functions, including the Idle Detection API, unless the various development teams decide to eliminate what they do not share.

However, if sites start using it, and considering the fact that Chrome is the most used browser in the world, it is possible that willy-nilly all browsers must adopt the Idle Detection API to ensure full compatibility with all sites.

8 thoughts on “Mozilla vs Google: Chrome 94 violates user privacy

  1. For free is almost nonexistent. FB isn´’t, despite that most users think it is. You pay with your privacy. The same goes for google. Users who care about their privacy erect a couple of walls before engaging with those “free” gadgets.

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