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Archive for September, 2010

30
Sep

Chrome fan says Google has removed important privacy control from Chrome

An individual who naively switched to Chrome a few months ago because the existence of one particular feature convinced her the spyware-laden brower could be recommended to persons “concerned about privacy and security issues” is now having second thoughts:

It seems that the new Chrome beta (7.0.517.24) — being automatically pushed out now — has (with no warning whatsoever) removed what I consider to be a key functionality, the cookie control setting that allows you to be queried for a decision whenever new cookies are being offered, and permits you to determine how cookies from related sites will be handled in the future.

She concludes:

Without such a setting, or an alternative means to access equivalent functionality (e.g. through a browser plugin/extension), I will likely be forced to move back to Firefox, and recommend the same course for most other individuals and firms.

It's no doubt true that many Chrome users have never accessed this feature, and choose rather simply to accept all cookies on a willy-nilly basis. But this simply is not an acceptable modus operandi for vast numbers of users and organizations who need convenient site-by-site cookie control. Nor is manually entering cookie exceptions into tables a practical solution on a routine basis.

Apparently this person, Lauren Weinstein, is unaware that Google logs keystrokes typed into the Chrome search box. She's also unaware that per-site cookie control – by itself – is almost meaningless in terms of safeguarding one's privacy. Cookie control doesn't provide the capability to block web bugs and trackers, find and erase Flash cookies, or prevent malicious JavaScript from executing, for example.

There are add-ons for Firefox that do all of those things.

Nobody concerned about privacy and/or security should be using any Google products, period. To say that Google is hostile to the very idea of user privacy is an understatement. Google is actively working to create a world in which there is no privacy. Those opposed to such a dystopia should be boycotting Google products and services regardless of how usable or useful those products and services may be. Those who do not stand on principle will have to accept the consequences of allowing their computer, mobile phone, and television to essentially become telescreens for Google.