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Chrome extensions will have to show how they use their data

To get a more access of your data you need have to know that where your data is is going and who is seeing your data because nowadays the cybersecurity issues are at top level and enhancing the crime rate. Google’s ongoing efforts to crack down on wa ...

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To get a more access of your data you need have to know that where your data is is going and who is seeing your data because nowadays the cybersecurity issues are at top level and enhancing the crime rate. Google’s ongoing efforts to crack down on wayward Chrome extensions now include more transparency for your data. The internet giant is introducing a policy in January 2021 that will require data use disclosures for extensions in the Chrome Web Store. Creators will have to explain the kinds of data they’re collecting, such as sign-ins or personally identifiable info. They’ll also have to promise they honor the new policy, which bans selling data to third parties, using data for unrelated purposes and relying on data for credit checks and moneylending. Extension makers can start supplying disclosures now, although they won’t be displayed on the Chrome Web Store until January 18th, 2021. Google will apply a notice to developers’ listings if they don’t make those disclosures by January 18th. The move won’t guarantee honesty from extension producers, as abusers could easily misreport what they collect. It could be easier to throw out dishonest developers once they’ve been caught, though. This policy should also help with above board extensions. If you know what an extension really wants, you can make a better-informed decision about installing that add-on. You’ll need to provide information about your app’s privacy practices, including the practices of third-party partners whose code you integrate into your app. In App Store Connect, Apple told app developers “This information will be required to submit new apps and app updates to the App Store starting December 8, 2020.”

Now Google is forcing developers to provide similar information for Chrome extension and, at the same time, the company is updating its developer policy to limit what extension developers can do with the data they collect. The change means that extension developers are prohibited from selling user data, using it for personalized advertising or to establish users’ creditworthiness / lending qualification, transferring the data to data brokers or other information resellers. In addition to this, they must ensuring the use or transfer of user data primarily benefits the user and is in accordance with the stated purpose of the extension. The privacy-related information will be shown in the privacy practices tab of the extension’s Chrome Web Store listing.

Will this be enough?

If developers fail to provide data privacy disclosures and to certify, they comply with the Limited Use policy, starting with January 18, 2021. Their listing on the Chrome Web Store will say that the publisher has not provided any information about the collection or usage of user data (but the extension apparently won’t be pulled from the store).

Will this stop users from downloading such an extension? Will most users actually read the information provided in the Privacy practices tab? Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is no. Does Google check whether extension developers were truthful when they “certified” their data use practices? Google doesn’t say, but the answer is likely no, as the task would be massive and the claims difficult (if not impossible) to confirm at that scale. The problem with Apple’s and Google’s latest app privacy transparency push is that the companies shift the responsibility on app/extension users and developers, and that the sanctions for developers who don’t comply with the store policies are not enough to stop those that are set on abusing them.

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