Thursday, February 2, 2012

AdBlock, why you be so evil? (important update)

So I'm reading a hilarious* little article posted on the Guardian when suddenly I get a message from my browser (I use Chrome) stating that my AdBlock extension has been updated and requires new permissions in order to be enabled.

What permissions does it need?
>Your data on all sites
>Your tabs and browsing activity
Yeah, no.  Fuck that.

Update:  This was added to the appstore page for AdBlock:

A bug in Chrome is disabling AdBlock and asking you to re-confirm the permissions that you agreed to when you installed.  It was triggered when I tried to add popup blocking to AdBlock.
Don't worry, nothing nasty is going on, other than the fact that AdBlock wasn't supposed to be disabled!
You can safely confirm and re-enable AdBlock.  Sorry for the mess.  See for a little more detail.
If you've left a negative review before reading this, I hope you'll go update it.  It's killing me to see all these confused users!
Finally: if, once you re-enable AdBlock, you go to chrome://extensions and see that you have version 2.5.16 (not 2.5.15), PLEASE email me at adblockforchrome at gmail and let me know.  2.5.16 is supposed to fix the problem and I want to make triple sure that it has :)

And this is from their FAQ:

When I install, Chrome warns me that AdBlock will have access to all my private data and browsing history!
It's true. AdBlock has the ability to access to your private data, but it doesn't actually access it. In order to remove ads from every web page, AdBlock needs the permission to run on every web page; and any extension that runs on every web page has the ability to see everything you're doing and what URLs you visit.
In Firefox, the situation was worse: every extension had the power to access your private data, and you weren't informed. In Chrome, at least, those extensions that need to run on every page show you a warning before you install them!
It comes down to trust: you should not install extensions that ask for more permission than you are comfortable with, unless you trust the author(s). AdBlock is the most popular extension for Chrome, partially because we care so much about our users -- so we hope you'll trust us :)

Not entirely certain what to think about this.  I know Google collects obscene amounts of data about me in general, and yet I still use Google software.  So for now I'm going to re-enable AdBlock, but definitely keep an eye on what's going on.

Any thoughts?

*'hilarious' of course referring to the Greek debt crisis. (update: I find the condescending attitude of the bourgeois jerk from the 'troika' hilarious.  The asshole sounds like he's talking about a petulant child, not an entire nation of suffering people.)

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