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Chrome 76 Prevents NYT and Other News Sites From Detecting Incognito Mode

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Google Chrome 76 will close a loophole that websites use to detect when people use the browser’s Incognito Mode. Over the past couple of years, you may have noticed some websites preventing you from reading articles while using a browser’s private mode. The Boston Globe began doing this in 2017, requiring people to log in to paid subscriber accounts in order to read in private mode. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers impose identical restrictions. Chrome 76 — which is in beta now and is scheduled to hit the stable channel on July 30 — prevents these websites from discovering that you’re in private mode. Google explained the change yesterday in a blog post titled, “Protecting private browsing in Chrome.” Google wrote: “Today, some sites use an unintended loophole to detect when people are browsing in Incognito Mode. Chrome’s FileSystem API is disabled in Incognito Mode to avoid leaving traces of activity on someone’s device. Sites can check for the availability of the FileSystem API and, if they receive an error message, determine that a private session is occurring and give the user a different experience. With the release of Chrome 76 scheduled for July 30, the behavior of the FileSystem API will be modified to remedy this method of Incognito Mode detection.”

If websites find new loopholes to detect private mode, Google said they will close those, too. “Chrome will likewise work to remedy any other current or future means of Incognito Mode detection,” Google’s blog post said.


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