Hands off Brock! EFF pleads with Google not to kill its Privacy Badger with its Manifest destiny

www.theregister.co.uk | 4/19/2019 | Staff
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In an effort to discourage Google from breaking or hobbling content blocking and privacy Chrome Extensions, the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Wednesday presented the Chocolate Factory with a modest wish list [PDF] to guide the company's ongoing API revision.

The aptly named Bennett Cyphers, staff technologist for Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Andrés Arrieta, director of consumer privacy engineering, have identified two areas of ongoing unease for the advocacy group's Privacy Badger extension, which is designed to stymie privacy-plundering ad trackers.

Changes - Manifest - V3 - Design - Specification

Among the many contemplated changes in the Manifest v3 design specification, Google's plan to deprecate the webRequest API (WR) and offer the declarativeNetRequest (DNR) API as an alternative remains a sticking point. Though WR is a blocking API and DNR is asynchronous – meaning it doesn't hold other code up while processing requests – the problem for developers is that the former is more flexible than the latter, allowing filtering rules to be rewritten dynamically rather than declared and fixed in advance.

Cyphers and Arrieta remain concerned about this change, one singled out by many extension developers in the past few months as a problem. "We’ve listed a set of changes to the proposal that we believe are necessary to keep Privacy Badger functioning as it does now and to allow us to implement planned changes in the near future," they wrote in their letter to Google's Chromium team.

Changes - Manifest - V3 - Extension - Developers

"However, we still believe that the proposed changes in Manifest v3 will hamper extension developers’ ability to innovate and adapt to a changing tracking landscape in the future, and continue to urge you to reconsider deprecating the blocking webRequest API."

Beyond that, the pair takes issue with the Chromium team's stated intention to get rid of a flag granting an extension access to all URLs () and to replace it with a permission targeting only the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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