From Jan next year Chrome extensions must disclose data usage

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Chrome extensions can prove extremely helpful in the right scenario, but with all things lined to using the internet, they are often elements that are a bit more nefarious.

In order to address this, Google has been clamping down on the browser‘s extensions that make use of data outside of what they should in recent months.

To that end, the latest development as far as Chrome extensions goes, will see developers needing to disclose how they use data, and reporting it within the Chrome Web Store.

This is a similar process that Google employs for its mobile-focused Play Store, and potentially means users have greater visibility as to what an extension is using their data for.

Whether Chrome users will indeed use this additional measure to better safeguard themselves online, however, remains to be seen.

This change is expected to take effect as of 18th January next year, with a detailed explanation needed for how extension creators collect data, whether it be from sign-ins or asking users to input personal information in order to access the tool.

Developers are also encouraged to start sharing their data practices now, but the information will not be displayed in the Chrome Store until the aforementioned 2021 date.

“Today, we are announcing changes that build upon those protections with an update to our developer policy that limits what extension developers can do with the data they collect. The new policy also requires developers to certify their data use practices, and display that information directly on the Chrome Web Store listing to help users understand an extension’s privacy practices,” explains Google in a blog post.

As for what will befall developers who have not disclosed the necessary information, Google says a notice will appear on their extension, explaining that the tool is not certified.

“For developers who have not yet provided privacy disclosures by January 18, 2021, a notice will be shown on their Chrome Web Store listings to inform users that the developer hasn’t certified that they comply with the Limited Use policy yet,” Google adds.

Here’s hoping the new measure will help Chrome users make more informed decisions about the extensions they use moving forward.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.