The new Chrome 94 introduces a controversial idle detection API that allows websites to know if a user with a web page open is idle or not.
Google has just launched its latest version of Chrome called the Chrome 94, which has a lot of new exciting features. But it also comes with a great controversial surveillance feature. The new Chrome 94 introduces a controversial idle detection API that allows websites to know if a user with a web page open is idle or not. Although, websites will have to ask user permission for this. However, later it can blur the lines and be used as a surveillance tool if it is made active by default to serve ads.
The developers behind Firefox have expressed concerns that it creates an “opportunity for surveillance capitalism.” Mozilla’s Web Standards Lead TantekÇelik commented on GitHub, saying:As it is currently specified, I consider the Idle Detection API too tempting of an opportunity for surveillance capitalism motivated websites to invade an aspect of the user’s physical privacy, keep long-term records of physical user behaviors.
He also proposed labeling this API as harmful and encouraging further incubation, perhaps reconsidering simpler, less-invasive alternative approaches to solve the motivating use-cases.Several other web browsers have also expressed concerns over the same.We are yet to see how developers use this API further and if other browsers too embrace this API later down the line.