Google’s Chrome 69 Criticized for Privacy Issues

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If you have upgraded your Chrome browser to version 69, you may care this: Chrome 69 silently introduces some changes related to account sign-in and clearing cookies.

Some users have found that they were forced to login to Chrome after logging into Google.com or one of Google services. And it is also be discovered that Chrome 69 still keeps Google’s cookies after you clear your browser data. In other words, every cookie can be deleted like that, except for authentication cookies created by Google.

If you are sensitive to privacy protection, you may feel uncomfortable with these changes. According to Google’s privacy policy, once you are signed in to Chrome browser, your personal browsing data is saved on Google’s servers and synced with your account, including browsing history, bookmarks, tabs, passwords and auto-fill information, as well as other browser settings, like installed extensions.

Anyhow, the fact worries many users that Google could forcibly sign you into the browser without your permission. Seemingly the sync feature will not be enabled automatically when you are forcibly logged into your Google account, but its is not clear whether other information may be collected by the authentication process.

To disable being forced to login to Chrome, do the followings:

- Type chrome://flags/#account-consistency in the address bar and press enter
- Set the flag “Identity consistency between browser and cookie jar” to Disabled
- Relaunch the browser when Chrome prompts you to do so

What makes things worse, a fact was discovered first by a Twitter user that if you are logged into Google and try to clear all cookies, “the Google authentications would not be removed, or if they were removed, were quickly recreated”. Even when you head to the list of all cookies and click Remove All button, Google authentication cookies seem to be restored after you refreshing the Cookies screen. In response to this complaint, an engineer of Chrome team pointed out that users will need to firstly sign out of Google and then clear the cookies, to permanently remove Google cookies.

Since the release of Chrome 69, the sign-in consistency in Google has aroused many users’ concerns. After receiving criticism on the Internet, Google announced that Chrome 70, which is planned to release in middle of October for Mac, Windows, and Linux, will allow users to control automatic login and delete Google cookies.

Chrome product manager Zake Koch confirmed in a blog entry that Chrome 70 will add an “Allow Chrome sign-in” toggle setting, which allows users to sign into a Google website without having to sign into Chrome. Meanwhile, a user’s sign-in and sync states will be displayed with clearer indicators, and the browser will delete all cookies including Google’s when users are trying to delete all cookies in Chrome 70.

Are you satisfied with Google’s explanation and response? What other web browsers are you using? If you wanna switch to another browser, or roll back to the older version of Chrome, you could uninstall Chrome 69 from your devices.

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