Users of Google’s popular web browser Chrome have discovered that the program appears to have started scanning the rest of the files on their computers.
This comes as a result of upgrades to its ‘Chrome Cleanup Tool’, which is scanning computers in order to find malware that might be targeting the browser itself, reports Motherboard. If it discovers anything, then it will ask your permission to delete the software in question.
So it appears that Chrome isn’t doing anything malicious when it’s scanning your files, but users are alarmed that the browser would start doing this without being more upfront about it, especially in the wake of Facebook’s data misuse scandal.
Writing on Twitter, a Google Chrome Security and Desktop engineer Justin Schuh attempted to calm fears by pointing out that the scan only runs weekly, and limits itself to programs that will affect Chrome directly.
Technically, Google has been upfront about what Chrome does. A whitepaper on its site from December 2017 explains that the browser will periodically scan your device to detect unwanted software and ask you before removing it.
But, as with many of the recent privacy controversies, people are growing increasingly annoyed that software and services are not being more upfront and clear about these sorts of things. Burying details of this behaviour in a whitepaper or in a lengthy terms and conditions document means that few, if any, people are going to be fully aware of what they’re consenting to.
In this instance, it seems that this system-scanning presents little reason to stop using Chrome for the average user.
Are you happy with Chrome’s ability to scan your computer to detect threats? Let us know @TrustedReviews.