Do You Use Google Chrome? Did You Notice The Latest Update Made Your Browsing Less Private?

You used to be able to surf the web via Google Chrome privately. Matthew Green, a cryptographer and professor at John Hopkins, blogged on how the new Chrome 69 update signs Google account users into the browser automatically. Read on to learn why.

Internet browsers are interfaces that allow us to access the internet. If you live in North America you probably use either Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Macintosh Safari. The Chrome browser now signs Google account users in automatically. Alarmingly, the only explicit indication of this is very small– at the top of your screen, just to the right of your address bar where you’ll see a letter/insignia symbolizing your account.

This inconspicuous symbol could indicate personal data like your browsing history, cookies/cache, and bookmarks are now all uploaded to Google servers. The Google Chrome privacy policy does a poor job of parsing the differences between automatic sign-in and sync– they make it sound like both of these options store your data in Google servers.

According to Google Chrome engineering manager Adrienne Porter Felt you have to opt into the sync option once you’ve signed into their account.

What does this mean?

The Google Chrome team says syncing your account with their browser would allow for a more cohesive browsing experience. However, this feature will also enable them to market to more third party advertisers.

Before the Google Chrome team released this update they didn’t ask users about it or provide a clear pathway to opt out. This goes against intentions of the newly passed GDPR. With all of the recent data breaches having all of your data uploaded to a Google server seems like a bad idea.

Here are some things you can do:

  • If you like the new Chrome setting you can control what information of yours is synced and encrypt it so it’s protected in their server by following these instructions.
  • If you like Chrome but don’t want your account to be logged in every time you use their browser you can disable this “identity consistency” feature by following these steps.
  • McAfee protects your computer in real-time, it can be installed on 5 devices, and as a FixMeStick customer you get 50% off on it here!

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