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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Chrome Allows Google, YouTube to Bypass Settings and Keep Tracking Users

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An alleged bug in Google’s Chrome web-browser apparently allows the US tech giant to continue tracking its users even after it has been explicitly told not to. The issue was first reported by developer, Jeff Johnson, who claimed that while even after switching on the ‘clear cookies and site data on exit’ on Chrome, the browser retains all user data from Google’s own websites, including Google.com and YouTube, while deleting everything else.

Following Johnson’s bombshell revelation, Google admitted to the issue, but claimed that a ‘bug’ was behind the unexpected behavior. In a statement to The Registrar, a company spokesperson said: “We are aware of a bug in Chrome that is impacting how cookies are cleared on some first-party Google websites. We are investigating the issue, and plan to roll out a fix in the coming days”. The company, however, did not explain why the bug specifically exempted sites owned by Google and its subsidiary.

It is worth noting that this is not the first time that the US tech giant is being accused of surreptitious collection of user data. Back in July, the company was sued by Chrome users who accused it of collecting personal information despite their decision not to sync data stored in Chrome with a Google Account. The company has also been under investigation in the EU for allegedly collecting user-data in possible violation of GDPR guidelines.

While Chrome continues to remain the most popular web-browser by a margin, it is definitely not the only option for users, whether on desktops or mobile. While Mac and iOS users swear by Safari, privacy-conscious users can try out the open source Mozilla Firefox that not only offers all the features, extensions (called add-ons by Mozilla) and rapid bug-fix updates, but also has an almost-unblemished record in terms of privacy and security.

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