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Will user feel comfortable browsing for information on sensitive mental health conditions — if their real name and picture are always loaded into the corner of their browser? For example, if I have my browser logged out, then I log in and turn on “sync”, does all my past (logged-out) data get pushed to Google?

Unlike most privacy policies, it was clearly written as a promise to Chrome’s users — rather than as the usual lawyer CYA.

Just make sure you don’t accidentally upload all your data in the process. But we also believe that this spying is weak and probabilistic.

It can happen quickly.) In short, Google has transformed the question of consenting to data upload from something that I actually had to put effort into — entering my Google credentials and signing into Chrome — into something I can now do with a single accidental click. Whether intentional or not, it has the effect of making it easy for people to activate sync without knowing it, or to think they’re already syncing and thus there’s no additional cost to increasing Google’s access to their data. It’s not like someone’s standing over our shoulder checking our driver’s license with each click. There are numerous studies indicating that even the can significantly greatly magnify the degree of self-censorship users force on themselves. The Chrome developers claim that with “sync” off, a Chrome has no privacy implications. But when pressed on the actual details, nobody seems quite sure.

I noticed mine the other day: The change hasn’t gone entirely unnoticed: it received some vigorous discussion on sites like Hacker News.

But the mainstream tech press seems to have ignored it completely.

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