New feature on Chrome is opposed by both Mozilla and Apple engineers
- Tram Ho
Chrome 94 has officially launched and besides the new features, there is also a point of doubt, which is the feature that Mozilla claims allows you to be monitored.
Chrome 94 introduces a controversial Idle Detection API. Essentially, websites can ask Chrome to report when users open the site but don’t use it on their device. If you’re away from your computer and aren’t using any apps, Chrome can also tell websites you’re not on your computer.
Developers love this new feature — anything that can give them more information about how users are interacting is a positive. It is enabled by default in Chrome 94, but does not work on its own. Just like using a webcam or microphone, there will be a prompt asking for your permission before using your data on a particular website.
However, Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, said it would create “surveillance opportunities”. Mozilla’s Web Standards lead Tantek Çelik commented on GitHub, saying:
“I think the Idle Detection API is too tempting to provide surveillance opportunities for sites with an incentive to invade a real-life aspect of user privacy, keeping long-term records of user activity. users, daily habits (e.g. lunchtime) and use to actively manipulate psychology…
As such, I propose to label this API as harmful and encourage further research, perhaps reconsideration of simpler, less intrusive alternative approaches to solving conspiratorial use cases. .”
Of course, Mozilla Firefox competes with Google Chrome, so it’s no surprise that a competitor might have criticism about something Google is doing.
However, it’s not just Mozilla. Apple’s Safari browser uses WebKit, and the WebKit development team also has a lot to say about the new API. Here’s what Ryosuke Niwa, an Apple software engineer working on WebKit said:
“Our concern is not limited to tracking. There is a clear privacy concern that this API allows a website to observe whether a user is near a device. For example : this can be used to start bitcoin mining when the user is not nearby or start a security breach etc”
We’ll have to wait and see how developers use this new API in Chrome. It could turn out to be a privacy nightmare — or no big deal.
Source : Genk