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Microsoft Edge Sucks Up Chrome Data Without Permission

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Most of those who use Microsoft products – Windows, and the Edge browser included – must by now be well conditioned to accept that the software they run and the data they believe they own isn’t really something they control.

And perhaps this is why a “feature” as astonishing as Edge automatically importing tabs open in Google Chrome – even when Microsoft browser’s import tool is disabled – has been known for months, without getting fixed (assuming it was a bug).

But it looks like a “bug” in the company’s thinking, one of many – not exactly a software one. It’s definitely a feature, after all.

Both Edge and Chrome are based on the same Chromium engine, which should make the “operation” easier; and Microsoft and Google are birds of a feather when it comes to invasive and controversial practices and behavior toward end-users.

And when they feel they have to be, they’re not particularly nice to each other, either. Some reports suggest that this “tab-stealing” feature is in fact “just” Microsoft’s way of trying to steal users from Chrome and get them to, willy-nilly, switch to Edge.

A Verge reporter and a Windows and Chrome (and occasionally Edge) user described the ordeal, the gist of which is that the tabs left open in their default Chrome browser got imported to Edge after a Windows update and a reboot.

No surprise that the user was not prompted to consent to any of this. Here’s the Windows/Edge experience summed up in one sentence: “I didn’t even realize I was using Edge at first, and I was confused why all my (imported from Chrome) tabs were suddenly logged out.”

And sure enough, the option at edge://settings/profiles/importBrowsingData was set to disable automatic access to “recent browsing data” i.e., the Borg-like assimilation of open Chrome tabs by Edge.

But resistance is certainly not futile: use open-source operating systems and browsers, and root (deepest-level permissions access/decision-making) is all yours.

Meanwhile, those (re)installing Windows these days will, at that stage, learn something about why the browser kerfuffle is happening.

Reads an installation prompt:

“With your confirmation, Microsoft Edge will regularly bring in data from other browsers available on your Windows device. This data includes your favorites, browsing history, cookies, autofill data, extensions, settings, and other browsing data.”

With your confirmation – or, as users are reporting, without it. It’s Microsoft after all, and the tech dinosaur felt no urgency in responding to relevant media queries.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

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