Electronic frontier Foundation (EFF), an American civil liberties organization, questions Google's new project called websites Environmental Integrity (WEI). According to Google, WEI aims to collect and share information about users' operating systems and their software with websites to help fight ad fraud.
However, the EFF argues that this puts users' autonomy at risk.
Όταν ένας χρήστης επισκέπτεται ένα ιστότοπο, το πρόγραμμα περιήγησής του στέλνει διάφορες πληροφορίες στον web server, επιτρέποντάς του να προσαρμόσει τον ιστότοπο ανάλογα ή να παρακολουθεί τους χρήστες στο διαnetwork.
Today, users have the ability to modify the information sent through plugins or other privacy tools. Google's WEI project seeks to change that. It proposes to collect information that cannot be modified by the user, thus allowing the web server to know exactly which system the visitor is using.
One of the major criticisms is the role of a third party, the "certifier", who will guarantee the web server that the information has not been tampered with. For example, Google Play could act as an authenticator on Android, determining which browsers and extensions are allowed.
The EFF warns about the power websites could gain in dictating which browser and operating system users should use.
The EFF argues that we should be in control of our computer. They argue that the Internet should remain an open platform where anyone can participate without having to meet certain conditions or ask for permission. The organization maintains that the design with Google certifiers does not belong to an open platform.
While the EFF acknowledges the problems companies face with ad fraud, they argue that all of this should not override users' right to control how their computer works.
Το EFF ισχυρίζεται ότι ένας ανοιχτός Web προσφέρει περισσότερα οφέλη παρά μειονεκτήματα και ότι επιτρέποντας σε μεγάλες, μονοπωλιακές εταιρείες να υπαγορεύουν τη χρήση της τεχνολογίας θα μπορούσε να λύσει τα προβλήματα των εταιρειών, αλλά όχι απαραίτητα και τα προβλήματα των χρηστών.
This new Google project has it was also criticized by the developers of Mozilla, Brave and Vivaldi browsers. The central concern is that the proposed changes could ultimately reduce users' autonomy and control over their own devices.
It remains to be seen how Google will respond to the EFF's concerns and whether it will make adjustments to its design in response to what is being reported.