HUGE DATA GATH­ER­ING OP­ER­A­TION UN­COV­ERED

11 MIL­LION BROWSER HIS­TO­RIES RECORDED

Maximum PC - - QUICKSTART - –CL

AN IN­VES­TI­GA­TION by AdGuard into Google Chrome browser ex­ten­sions has un­cov­ered a wor­ry­ing set of spy­ware. There are nine sus­pects, all reg­is­tered to a pre­vi­ously un­known com­pany called Big Star Labs: Block Site, Ad­block­Prime, Mo­bile Health Club, Poper Blocker, CrxMouse, Speed Booster, Bat­tery Saver, Ap­pLock, and Clean Droid.

All are col­lect­ing your browser his­tory, and pass­ing it back to Big Star Labs, without ask­ing for ex­plicit con­sent. Not strictly il­le­gal, but against Google pol­icy. The ex­ten­sions in­clude a unique iden­ti­fier with the data they col­lect, so it’s easy to col­late, and di­rectly link your browser his­tory to your real iden­tity, po­ten­tially saleable, po­ten­tially trou­ble­some.

AdGuard says it hasn’t been able to track down who is get­ting the data col­lected. The record­ing of on­line ac­tiv­ity is in­creas­ingly com­mon; data on you has value. Many ex­ten­sions col­lect browser his­tory; it is sup­posed to be anony­mous, but it is any­thing but.

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