It turns out it’s not just smartphone tracking data and online purchases that we have to be concerned about. Google’s desktop web browser, Chrome is also being called into question. Chrome apparently scans users’ hard drives without their knowledge.
Google Chrome for Windows includes what’s called the Chrome Cleanup Tool, which is designed to detect and remove unwanted software, according to Justin Schuh, head of Google Chrome security, who also said users have to specifically click the Remove button to initiate the cleanup. But if this service is so benign, why wasn’t its purpose and the full extent of its operation explained to users? Google has not yet provided an answer to this.
Chrome is supposedly “just” looking through your files to identify malware that might affect Chrome. It then sends the metadata of the file and the location of where the malware is located on your hard drive, including some system information to Google. Google’s cavalier attitude doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence, given the current climate we live in.
YouTuber Dave Cullen of the Computing Forever channel says the problem is really two-fold: 1) the addiction users have to these ubiquitous free services and 2) the apathetic culture of the tech companies in question, where caring about user privacy isn’t exactly part of their business model, seeing as it as how persona data is the very thing they rely upon to make money.