In what could be a major respite to the end users, Google Chrome has decided to ensure it will stop websites from seeing users while being in Incognito mode. With its new update, Google Chrome 76, the company will reportedly fix an issue that allowed websites to know that the user is browsing in Incognito mode. The update is expected to reach users by July 30 and will have a major impact on how websites plan their paywalls going forward.
Google made the announcement via a blog post and explained how websites had been misusing a loophole concerned with Chrome’s FileSystem API. So far, the API gets deactivated once the user switches to Incognito mode. Websites look up to check whether the API is available or not and if they don’t find it, they conclude that the user is browsing in Incognito mode. Basis that, these websites, primarily news websites like The New York Times and The Boston Times, asked the users to sign in using a paid account. Going forward the same won’t be happening as the websites won’t be able to detect the user in Incognito mode. Google did acknowledge that the new update will impact news websites but suggested to harden up their paywalls. Google stated that paywalls are subject to cookies and hence can anyhow be easily bypassed. It iterated that websites should go through the changes in FileSystem API first before making any changes to their paywalls.
In other news, Google is expected to be at the receiving end of a massive fine after it was found to violate FTC’s COPPA. The investigation involved YouTube and was concerned with how the video-streaming platform collected data from children below 13. It was found that YouTube’s policies were violating FTC’s general privacy policies for children below the age of 13 years.