Chrome extensions will soon have to tell you what data they collect

New rules mean no more sneaky collection of user data without prominent notifications

Google is about to make it harder for Chrome extensions to collect your browsing data without letting you know about it, according to a new policy announced Friday.

Starting in mid-July, developers releasing Chrome extensions will have to comply with a new User Data Policy that governs how they collect, transmit and store private information. Extensions will have to encrypt personal and sensitive information, and developers will have to disclose their privacy policies to users.

Developers will also have to post a "prominent disclosure" when collecting sensitive data that isn't related to a prominent feature. That's important, because extensions have tremendous power to track users' browsing habits and then use that for nefarious purposes.

With this change, an extension that's marketed as a way to add themes to social media sites but also scrapes the number of friends a user has on that site for sale or research purposes will have to prominently tell users about it.

By requiring developers to be up front about what they might be collecting behind the scenes, Google can help make sure that its users are protected from shady extensions, and make sure that people know how their information is being used.

However, users shouldn't expect prominent disclosures for every piece of information collected. For example, Google allows developers to collect anonymized data about how people use their extensions without a prominent disclosure (though it should be represented in their privacy policies).

Google has given developers until July 14 to update their extensions to comply with the new policy. After that, extensions that don't follow Google's new guidelines will be removed from the Chrome Web Store.


Take this 5 minute survey on The State of Cloud Storage & Collaboration 2016 and go in the draw to win a $500 Visa credit card.

Start Survey NOW


Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?