Data privacy issues continue to hold center stage with large corporate bodies initiating all possible steps to prevent data leaks, particularly where third parties are involved.
Google has been at this for over a year now and in its latest move, it is taking a closer look at the extensions in its flagship Chrome browser.
As stated by Google’s new rules, Chrome extension developers will now need to limit the amount of data they collect to the bare minimum.
Google says October 15 is the deadline to implement the new rules. If developers fail to make the necessary updates by then, their extension will be removed from the Chrome Web Store.
Rule Applies to ‘Sensitive Data’
The new directive from Google states that if a Chrome extension needs to capture data and it had multiple choices for doing so, it should choose the one that entails less data collection.
The word “sensitive” is repeatedly used in these communications. This may include data of a nature that is highly personal and open for misuse, ranging from email addresses and phone numbers to bank account information to browser history to user-generated content.
Third-Party Data Collection a Major Issue Among Tech Companies
Increasingly, tech companies are tightening the rules that govern how developers handle sensitive and personally identifiable information. If a breach to these policies affects users in Europe, where the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in effect, there could be very high penalties.
Many countries around the world are readying their own data protection legislation that branches off GDPR’s guidelines.
A company like Google, with its worldwide scale of operations, cannot afford to take this issue lightly. To clear itself of accusations of data mishandling, Google is now stepping in with a stricter policy that limits data collection at its source.
This may be Google’s way of trying to earn immunity from any wrongdoing by third parties. The bottom line, however, is that the customers who entrust their personal information with Google should feel more safe and secure with this rule in place.
Always Review Chrome Extension Permissions Before Accepting Them
Chrome users can take precautions on their own too.
Foremost, users should always pay attention to the way Chrome extensions seek to collect information from their browser. If an extension requests permission to take screenshots or record audio from your computer’s microphone, and there’s no reason why the extension would need to access these functions, this could be a red flag.
Check which of your Chrome extensions are the most useful to you on a regular basis. If you no longer use an extension, go ahead and remove it.