Google to improve privacy settings of incognito browsing mode

The move will fix a loophole which until now allowed publishers to force people to log in and not avoid metered paywalls

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 22, 2019 8:54 AM

Google has reportedly moved to bolster the privacy settings of its incognito browsing mode, closing a "loophole" that allowed publishers to stop people from avoiding metered paywalls, thus forcing them to log in. According to reports, starting 30 July, Google will move to fix this loophole which will be a welcomed one by consumers who want to avoid publishers' paywalls while using the incognito mode. At present, publishers have been able to detect consumers even when they used incognito mode, a mode which is meant to protect users' privacy.

In a blog post, Google’s partner development manager of news and web partnerships, Barb Palser said that this change will affect some publishers, especially those with a 'freemium', or metered, a mode which allows consumers a limited number of free articles before asking them to log in and pay for content. The post said, “The change will affect sites that use the File System API to intercept incognito mode sessions and require people to log in or switch to normal browsing mode on the assumption that these individuals are attempting to circumvent metered paywalls,”

Google also highlighted that the current model goes against the basic idea of an incognito window- protecting user privacy- and that publishers need to respect users' privacy. The company also advised that publishers strengthen their paywall strategies and that they should monitor the effects of the changes before implementing any reactive measures

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