Google Chrome: extensions will have transparency obligation in 2021

Google Chrome extensions

Extensions for Google Chrome will be required for greater transparency towards the user from January 2021. From next year, a new regulation will come into effect with several changes to the limits and permissions of these add-ons for the most used browser in the world.

These changes were recently published on the Mountain View technology Chromium blog, detailing a series of changes to be applied very soon. As a general rule, they aim to promote transparency and guarantee user privacy.

The primacy of transparency and the safeguarding of privacy

Google Chrome extensions

From January 2021, the Internet giant will force those responsible for Chrome extensions to explain what information they collect from the user. Such obligation will apply to all extensions present in the Chrome Web Store.

Based on this imposition, creators will have to explain to users the categories of data they will have access to and which they will use in their respective extensions. This implies, for example, categories such as form filling data, as well as any other data that can identify the user.

Likewise, those responsible will have to promise, under an honorable commitment, to respect the new regulation of Google that expressly prohibits the sale of such data to third parties, the use of the data for unrelated purposes, or use this as a credit guarantee and similar purposes.

Good practice on Google Chrome extensions

Google Chrome

Google has already informed those responsible for Chrome extensions that they can start submitting the notices. Note, however, that these will not be published until January 18, 2021, the date on which they will start showing on the Chrome Web Store.

Until then, the American giant gives programmers some time to compile the new information window. The objective is to present a simple list to understand about the types of information collected and the exact purpose of each indicator.

Added value for the privacy of Chrome users

Google Chrome

It is also worth noting that this obligation will not guarantee that programmers are necessarily honest. Note that a malicious mind may simply declare an end different from the real one for the information collected.

Still, this new barrier could make it easier to detect dishonest programmers. From then on, Google will be able to check whether or not the information package is being channeled towards the purpose for which it is proposed.

Finally, for the user it will be a great reinforcement of transparency, accompanied by a possible better safeguarding of their privacy. That is, if the user knows exactly what the collected information is for, he can form a more informed judgment about the decision to install, or not, a certain Chrome extension.

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