- Web Desk
- Dec 06, 2023
Google to enhance user privacy with ‘IP protection’ feature in chrome
- Web Desk
- Oct 25, 2023
WEB DESK: In an effort to bolster user privacy, Google is set to introduce a new ‘IP Protection’ feature for its Chrome browser.
The feature aims to hide users’ IP addresses through proxy servers, recognising the potential for IP addresses to be exploited for secret tracking.
According to Computing.co, Google’s approach seeks to strike a balance between safeguarding user privacy and maintaining essential web functions. IP addresses are vital for tasks like routing web traffic and preventing fraud, but they can also be used to track user activities across websites, raising concerns about privacy.
With no direct method for users to evade such tracking, Google’s proposed IP Protection feature addresses this challenge.
How does the IP protection feature work?
The solution routes third-party traffic from specific domains through proxies, making users’ IP addresses invisible to these domains. The system is designed to adapt to changes in the online landscape, continuously protecting users from cross-site tracking while gradually adding more domains to the proxied traffic.
Initially, the feature will be optional, allowing users to control their privacy while enabling Google to monitor behavior. The rollout will happen in stages, considering regional differences and allowing for a learning process.
In the initial phase, Google will proxy requests only to its own domains through an exclusive proxy, helping to test the infrastructure and refine the list of domains. Firstly, access to these proxies will be limited to users logged into Google Chrome with US-based IP addresses.
To prevent misuse, Google will use an authentication server to distribute access tokens to the proxy, enforcing a quota for each user. As the feature progresses, Google plans to implement a two-hop proxy system, with the second proxy owned by a third-party provider, not Google.
Addressing privacy concerns
Google acknowledges cybersecurity concerns related to the IP Protection feature. Google is exploring measures like user authentication with the proxy, preventing proxies from linking web requests to specific accounts, and implementing rate-limiting to mitigate DDoS threats.
The Google feature will undergo testing from Chrome 119 to Chrome 225, with architecture and design subject to refinement during the trial.
Although the IP Protection feature holds promise for improving user privacy from trackers, Google’s focus on security measures highlights the need to address potential vulnerabilities and ensure a secure browsing experience for Chrome users.