Google is proposing a feature called "First-Party Sets," which would have browsers reduce privacy barriers between sites. This is both alarming and harmful.Read this article →
"Web Environment Integrity": Locking Down the Web
By the Brave Web Standards Team
by Peter Snyder, VP of Privacy Engineering and Senior Privacy Researcher
Brave strongly opposes Google’s “Web Environment Integrity” (WEI) proposal. As with many of Google’s recent changes and proposals regarding the Web, “Web Environment Integrity” would move power away from users, and toward large websites, including the websites Google itself runs. Though Brave uses Chromium, Brave browsers do not (and will not) include WEI.1 Further, some browsers have introduced other features similar to, though more limited than, WEI (e.g., certain parts of WebAuthn and Privacy Keys); Brave is considering how to best restrict these features without breaking benign uses.
Google’s WEI proposal is frustrating, but it’s not surprising. WEI is simply the latest in Google’s ongoing efforts to prevent browser users from being in control of how they read, interact with, and use the Web. Google’s WebBundles proposal makes it more difficult for users to block or filter out unwanted page content, Google’s First Party Sets feature makes it more difficult for users to make decisions around which sites can track users, and Google’s weakening of browser extensions straightforwardly makes it harder for users to be in control of their Web experience by crippling top ad-and-tracker-blocking extensions such as uBlock Origin.2 This is unfortunately far from a complete list of recent, similar user-harming Web proposals from Google. Again, Brave disables or modifies all of these features in Brave’s browsers.
The Web is the world’s most popular, and therefore most important, open system for sharing information and distributing applications. It is critical that users stay in control of how they interact with the Web, and for the Web not to be reduced to a series of take-it-or-leave-it black-boxes that users can’t inspect, can’t understand, and can’t modify. Google’s WEI proposal (like many other Google proposals) intentionally shifts power away from users, and towards large websites and advertisers.
We remove or disable Chromium features that harm users’ privacy or convenience. You can find a running list of these changes here: https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/wiki/Deviations-from-Chromium-(features-we-disable-or-remove). ↩︎
The UK CMA (along with other regulators and web activists) are largely evaluating Google’s Privacy Sandbox as an isolated, independent set of features. Evaluations that fail to consider how Privacy Sandbox will interact with other upcoming Google proposals will miss how radical and harmful Privacy Sandbox will be to the Web in practice. This piece presents how Privacy Sandbox, when considered with other upcoming Chrome features, will harm user choice, privacy, and competition on the Web.Read this article →
The Topics API does not address the core harmfulness of FLoC: that it’s arrogant and dangerous for Google to be the arbiter of what users consider “sensitive” data.Read this article →
Ready for a better Internet?
Brave’s easy-to-use browser blocks ads by default, making the Web cleaner, faster, and safer for people all over the world.Download Brave