Weekly Roundup: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Today is Sunday, October 2nd: time for the weekly roundup of the good, the bad and the ugly tech news of the week! This week’s picks are centered around user privacy.

The Good

Some browsers (looking at you Chrome) are going out of their way NOT to help protect their user’s privacy. It is a refreshing change to hear Brave, a privacy based browser built off of Chromium will automatically block cookie consent banners/pop-ups in future releases. One of the unfortunate side effects of the EU’s GDPR is those annoying ‘this site uses cookies, please accept them (so our advertisers can profile you and sell your information to other advertisers and pay us)’ banners. Sadly, we won’t see such a feature coming in Chrome…

The Bad

While Google Inc. 100,83 -0,45 -0,44% Chrome has delayed their plans to block extensions not complying with the Manifest V3 guidelines until the earliest June 2023, they are not backing down from the criticism, complaints and backlash they are getting from ‘ad blocker extension’ developers (perhaps even end users). The main issue is the rule in Manifest V3 which webRequest API must block extensions from modifying the data before it’s shown to the user. This plus other rules in Manifest V3 are going to break ad blockers (Ad Blockers also prevent tracking) which is going to affect the privacy and security of the end users. Manifest V3 was announced in 2019 and given the original timeline Google had planned to have it fully implemented by now (or very least not allow new Manifest V2 extensions in the store by January 2022) . So don’t be surprised if this keeps getting pushed back further.

The Ugly

Facebook, Inc. 196,64 +0,99 +0,51% users on iOS are suing Meta after discovering Facebook and Instagram were bypassing Apple’s updated privacy rules from 2021. More specifically when a user tapped a link in Facebook or Instagram an in-app browser would be used instead of the default browser. Meta has been accused (and they of course are denying these accusations) of “concealing privacy risks, circumventing iOS user privacy choices, and intercepting, monitoring, and recording all activity on third-party websites viewed in Facebook or Instagram’s browser.” Of course, risking users privacy for revenue is nothing new for Meta and has resulted in some hefty fines both here in the US as well as in the EU.