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Tech Giant Google to Fix Loophole That Lets Sites to Track Porn-viewing Habits of People

According to Google, the change will affect sites that use the “FileSystem API” to intercept “Incognito” mode sessions and require people to log in or switch to normal browsing mode,” on the assumption that these individuals are attempting to circumvent metered paywalls

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

After facing criticism over letting third-party organization get access to users’ viewing habits even while browsing in ‘Incognito’ mode, Google has said Chrome will fix a loophole that has allowed sites to detect people who are browsing the web privately.

This confirms that a loophole is indeed there in “Incognito” mode allowing site owners and publishers to detect when people are browsing privately, including porn.

“People choose to browse the web privately for many reasons. Some wish to protect their privacy on shared or borrowed devices, or to exclude certain activities from their browsing histories,” Barb Palser, a Partner Development Manager at Google said in a blog post.

Chrome will remedy a loophole that has allowed sites to detect people who are browsing in ‘Incognito’ Mode.

“This will affect some publishers who have used the loophole to deter metered paywall circumvention,” Palser added.

When third-party vendors use the loophole in Chrome’s “Incognitoa mode, Chrome’s FileSystem API is disabled to avoid leaving traces of activity on someone’s device.

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FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

“With the release of Chrome 76 scheduled for July 30, the behaviour of the FileSystem API will be modified to remedy this method of Incognito Mode detection. Chrome will likewise work to remedy any other current or future means of Incognito Mode detection,” Google informed.

Google’s acknowledgment came after a new joint study from Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pennsylvania that investigated 22,484 sex websites using a tool called “webXray” revealed that 93 per cent of pages track and leak users’ data to third-party organisations even during the “Incognito” mode.

Of non-pornography-specific services, Google tracks 74 per cent of sites, Oracle 24 per cent and Facebook 10 per cent.

Also Read: YouTube Fined in Millions Over Kids’ Data Privacy Breach

According to Google, the change will affect sites that use the “FileSystem API” to intercept “Incognito” mode sessions and require people to log in or switch to normal browsing mode,” on the assumption that these individuals are attempting to circumvent metered paywalls”.

“We suggest publishers monitor the effect of the ‘FileSystem API’ change before taking reactive measures since any impact on user behaviour may be different than expected and any change in meter strategy will impact all users, not just those using ‘Incognito’ mode,” Google explained. (IANS)

Next Story

Google To Stop Services For explorer Edition of Glass Soon

The latest update does not affect Glass Enterprise Edition devices, Google noted

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Google said the latest update removes Glass connection to backend services. Pixabay

Google has announced that it will end support for the Explorer Edition of Glass in February 2020.

Google said that the wearable device is receiving a final update that needs to be installed manually.

“Glass Explorer Edition is receiving a final update that you will need to manually install. After February 25, 2020, this update removes the need and ability to use your Google account on Glass,” the tech major said in a statement.

According to Google’s statement, if you do not update the device, and you are currently signed in and using the device, it will continue to work, but mirror apps, like Gmail, YouTube and Hangouts, will no longer work.

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Google has announced that it will end support for the Explorer Edition of Glass in February 2020. Wikimedia Commons

Google said the latest update removes Glass connection to backend services.

ALSO READ: Climate Activists Unite and Support Greta Thunberg Against Her Climate Change Fight

After the final update, MyGlass app, which allows users to manage device settings, will also stop functioning. However, the users will still be able to pair it directly to their phones via Bluetooth.

The latest update does not affect Glass Enterprise Edition devices, Google noted. (IANS)