Under pressure, Google crack down on platform privacy and safety

Amid the rumblings of anti-trust activity and a public feeling of mistrust, “Don’t be evil” doesn’t hack it any more…:

[…] Here’s a rundown:

Chrome extension crackdown: On Thursday, the company announced new policies for its Chrome browser, requiring third-party Chrome extensions to only request access to “the least amount of data” needed to implement their features. In the past, it was only an encouragement and not a requirement. There are more than 180,000 extensions in Chrome Web Store, according to the company.

Google also said it will require more extensions to post their own privacy and data use policies. In the past, the company only required extensions that handle personal or sensitive user data to post a privacy policy, but now it will require extensions that handle “user-provided content” and personal communications.

Both changes will go into effect starting this summer.

Restricting access to info in Drive and Gmail: In the same announcement, Google said it will tighten restrictions on how developers can access Google Drive, which allows users to store and sync files across devices. The change, which will kick in early next year, will force third-parties to limit the apps they can access data from.

Starting June 25, the company will make widely available to G Suite customers a new privacy feature called “Confidential Mode,” which aims to keep sensitive information from unauthorized access. Google announced the feature in April amid reports that users’ email content was being collected.

Weed whacking. Also this week, Google said it has banned and will continue to ban apps that facilitate the sale of marijuana or related products, deeming it “Inappropriate Content” that compromises user safety. Existing apps will have 30 days from their launch to comply with the policy.


Original article here