Is This Google Chrome Problem A New Reason To Switch To Firefox?

March 12 16:11 2020 Print This Article

Google’s Chrome browser still dominates the market, with over 2 billion users. But Chrome has come under increasing scrutiny over recent months, with some even ditching it altogether in favor of privacy-focused alternatives such as Firefox.

Today, if you are a Google Chrome user, you could have another reason to switch. According to esteemed tech site The Register, Google has retracted a claim that an identifier it uses internally to track experimental features and variations in Chrome doesn’t contain personally identifiable information.

Personally identifiable information is data that could reveal who you are, such as your full name, social security number, or passport number. Due to its value to you as an individual, this information is safeguarded under regulation such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Google’s X-client-data header–a unique identifier?

The news that Google has removed the claim follows an investigation by the Register in February, after a software developer challenged a Google engineer in a GitHub Issues post. The developer, Arnaud Granal, said the request header data transmitted by Chrome could be a unique identifier and as such, would be in violation of the EU’s GDPR regulation.

The X-client-data header is what Chrome sends to Google after a Google webpage has been requested. But Granal told the Register that even if you use a proxy, VPN, or Tor, Google (including DoubleClick) might be able to recognize you using the X-client-data.

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Kate OFlaherty
Kate OFlaherty

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