Google’s ongoing efforts to crack down on wayward Chrome extensions now include more transparency for your data. The internet giant is introducing a policy in January 2021 that will require data use disclosures for extensions in the Chrome Web Store. Creators will have to explain the kinds of data they’re collecting, such as sign-ins or personally identifiable info. They’ll also have to promise they honor the new policy, which bans selling data to third parties, using data for unrelated purposes and relying on data for credit checks and moneylending.
Extension makers can start supplying disclosures now, although they won’t be displayed on the Chrome Web Store until January 18th, 2021. There’s pressure to comply — Google will apply a notice to developers’ listings if they don’t make those disclosures by January 18th.
The move won’t guarantee honesty from extension producers, as abusers could easily misreport what they collect. It could be easier to throw out dishonest developers once they’ve been caught, though. This policy should also help with above-board extensions. If you know what an extension really wants, you can make a better-informed decision about installing that add-on.