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Chrome extension devs to now show what data they collect from users

Google’s new transparency policy will come into effect from January 2021. Here is what the Chrome extension developers will have to follow.

Google updates user data privacy policy for Chrome users
Google updates user data privacy policy for Chrome users (Pixabay)

Extensions can be of great assistance for users, but at the same time, they can be a big privacy nightmare. Google has been making efforts to tighten the noose around the Chrome extensions for quite some time. Now, the company has introduced a roadmap on bringing transparent privacy practices for Chrome extensions.

Starting January 2021, each extension’s detail page on Google Chrome Web Store will also showcase developer-provided information on the data they collected by their extension. Developers can begin using data disclosure collection tool right away. Detailed information on data collection is likely to help users make a more informed decision on what extension they want to snap on their browser.

Google's new policy for Chrome extensions
Google's new policy for Chrome extensions (Google)

Apart from a more detailed page, Google has also introduced an additional policy that aims to limit how extension developers access users’ data. The policy ensures the user data is for the primary benefit of the user and as per the purpose of the extension. The policy also reiterates developers cannot sell user data. It also bars the use of the data collected for personalised advertising. It also bars developers from using user data for “creditworthiness or any form of lending qualification and to data brokers or other information resellers.”

Chrome extension pages will now also feature a display to inform users whether the developer has complied with the abovementioned policies or not.

“Protecting users and their data is a fundamental aspect of the work we do on Chrome. Last year, as part of Google’s Project Strobe, we announced an important set of policies for extensions to protect users and their data. These policies require extensions to request only the permissions needed to implement their features. Additionally, we required more extensions to post privacy policies and handle user data securely,” Alexandre Blondin and Mark M. Jaycox, Chrome Product & Policy wrote in a blog post.

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