You Need to Prevent Chrome From Sharing Traffic Data on Android
At this point, the statement “Google doesn’t know how to handle your data” is not shocking. We know that Google and similar companies threaten our privacy and security every day in the name of business and profit; we just kind of, you know, handle it? However, there has been some trouble with Chrome lately, especially if you are using the browser on Android.
Maisk, a duo of app developers and security researchers, recently exposed Chrome’s stealth on Twitter . In his tweet, Maysk reveals that by default, Chrome broadcasts your phone’s traffic to the websites you visit. Is not cool.
Why you don’t want third parties to access your traffic data
To begin with, as I said, this is creepy. The data comes from your phone’s accelerometer, a sensor that tracks the orientation and position of your device. This sensor allows you to switch from portrait to landscape mode, as well as track you and your phone’s movement. For example, it lets fitness apps know how many steps you’ve taken if you had your phone with you.
Since most of us keep our phones in our pockets or with us, a lot of movement data is generated on the device throughout the day. Google Chrome, by its very nature, allows any website you click on to request traffic data and enjoy transmitting it. The researchers found that these sites use accelerometer data to track ad interactions, check ad impressions, and track your device (well, yes). However, these first two are very schematic; Web sites do not just want to know, you click on the ad or not, they want to know how you physically interact with these pop-ups. Hey, why stop there? Why not touch the camera and see what color my shirt is?
Stop Chrome from sharing traffic data with sites
Uninstall the app from your phone. Just kidding . I know that the vast majority of Android users will not want to switch from Chrome to another mobile browser. However, privacy-conscious users may want to upgrade to something more authoritative, like Firefox, and if so, for you.
But there are many advantages to using Chrome, especially on Android (considering that the platform is also developed and operated by Google). If you don’t want to take the most radical steps, you can simply toggle the setting to prevent Google from sharing this data. As Mysk points out in his tweet, you can turn off traffic sharing in Chrome’s settings.
Here’s how: open the app, tap the three dots in the upper right corner and select ” Settings “. Then scroll down, click Site Settings , then Motion Sensors . Turn the toggle off here to ensure that third-party sites can no longer request your traffic data from now on.