Friday 20 May 2011

To be trusted

I have just one on my browser, the RSS subscription extension, and that is all. The problem with any add-on, or to be more accurate the problem I have with any third-party add-on, is amply demonstrated by the message box displayed before installing the Amazon Wish List extension. Do I want to install something that can access my data on all websites and all my browsing activity? Not really! The advice is to only install from those you know and trust. The obstacle is that other piece of advice; when it comes to the web, trust no-one. I’m not sure who said that, maybe it’s just me, but when the help page informs you ‘Your data on all websites’ could mean the following...
This item can read every page that you visit -- your bank, your web email, your Facebook page, and so on … Besides seeing all your pages, this item could use your credentials (cookies) to request your data from websites.
... it doesn’t really help at all. Yes, I ‘trust’ Google and Amazon, but the power of any app. store (and I hope Apple don’t mind me using the term) comes from the thousands of developers who contribute to it. Insufficient permissions granularity means it relies on – and is possibly even hindered by - misplaced consumer faith and worse, in some cases ignorance - including my own.


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