Google to introduce improved transparency guidelines for Chrome extensions

Google is looking to take steps that will enables Chrome users to make more informed decisions about the extensions they install. Specifically, developers will have to provide more information about data collections in the interests of transparency.

In addition, developers will have to produce a privacy policy for their extensions, and must ask for permission before collecting data about users. Google's new User Data Policy introduces these extra requirements in the wake of increased demands from users for more information about what is going on in the background.

Google is introducing some restrictions as well as new requirements. If the collection of data is not integral to the functioning of an extension, it will be prohibited. The new User Data Policy comes into force from 14 July and after this date Google will purge from the Web Store any non-compliant extensions.

Developers will be expected to:

  • Be transparent about the handling of user data and disclose privacy practices
  • Post a privacy policy and use encryption, when handling personal or sensitive information, and
  • Ask users to consent to the collection of personal or sensitive data via a prominent disclosure, when the use of the data isn’t related to a prominent feature.

Google explains the reason for the changes: "Protecting our users is our key priority, and we believe this change will make sure users are better informed and allow them to choose how their user data is handled."

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