Google Chrome Privacy Issues Prompts Plea To Google Execs

05 Nov Google Chrome Privacy Issues Prompts Plea To Google Execs

In an effort to publicize what it claims are the privacy failings of Google’s new Chrome browser, Consumer Watchdog is airing its grievances through Google’s YouTube and urging viewers to use its e-mail form to submit a message to Google’s board of directors demanding better privacy protection. Google’s new Chrome browser presents a privacy risk for consumers, the consumer advocacy group contends, because it sends information about users’ searches “without users’ full understanding, consent or control.” Google launched its open source Chrome browser, now in its third beta iteration (version 0.3.154.9), in early September to provide a better experience and better security for browser-based applications. Chrome’s Incognito mode, like Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2’s InPrivate mode and Apple Safari’s Private Browsing mode, creates a window in which, as Google puts it, nothing “is ever logged on your computer.” Consumer Watchdog argues that Chrome’s Incognito mode does not confer the privacy that the mode’s name suggests and that Chrome’s blurring of local and remote computing “creates confusion in the consumer’s mind about the privacy and security of confidential information.” Chief among the group’s complaints is Google Suggest, a feature found in Chrome and other Google applications like Google Toolbar. It is effectively a keystroke logger than sends every character typed to Google. Google uses this information to provide search suggestions that it refines with every subsequent letter. 

Information Week, By Thomas Claburn, November 4, 2008