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Microsoft Adopts Google Chrome’s Controversial Manifest V3 for Edge The Register




Despite continuing concerns about its impact on content filtering extensions such as ad blockers, Microsoft has decided to support Google’s proposed Manifest V3 in Edge browsers based on the Chromium browser engine.

Manifests are used by browser extensions to declare the permissions required for extensions and are associated with a set of APIs that allow code to interact with web pages. Extensions provide high functionality because they can read and modify the content of the page, but they also pose a privacy and security risk if a user installs a malicious or compromised extension.

At the beginning of 2019, Google made a suggestion to make the extension more secure, but the functionality has dropped somewhat. In particular, the webRequest API, which allows extensions to view, modify, or block browser requests, has been deprecated and a new, less powerful, declarative Net Request API has been adopted. A common use for webRequest is to block ads, but there are many other uses.

It’s correct that Google states that extensions can abuse webRequests, but it’s difficult because the business depends on it and there is also suspicion that the company wants to keep the ad flow. It’s a problem. Last year, Google reported in a financial report that it highlighted ad blocking technology as a “potentially negative impact” threat.

Google is slightly tolerant of cracking down on ad blockers for paid enterprise Chrome users, not everyone else read more

Nonetheless, Google said weakening ad blockers in June 2019 was “absolutely not a goal.” The company also revealed that webRequest remains a monitoring API and, strangely enough, blocking is “still available in enterprise deployments.”

In the current situation, Manifest V3 remains “actively under development,” and Google states that “the final end-of-support date for Manifest V2 has not been determined.”

Microsoft has the potential to make support for the stronger webRequest API a feature of Edge. Also, some users begged to do so by saying, “Don’t remove, modify, or restrict this API.” Those appeals did not seem to be noted. In a new post, the Microsoft Edge team said: “We will support the declarative net request API and other changes proposed as part of Manifest V3.”

In addition, the documentation states: “We will replace the Web Request API with the Declarative Net Request API, but we will continue to retain the monitoring capabilities of the Web Request API.”

Manifest v3 is already supported in the stable release of Edge, but there is no timeline to disable webRequest, the company said, “Once changes are confirmed in Chromium, share updates on the timeline. I will. “

According to Microsoft, “After a thorough review of the concerns raised by content blockers and the community, we believe that most of these concerns have been resolved or resolved before the Web Request API has been deprecated. I will. “

Of course, there is room for “solving”, but there is no evidence that the community is equally confident.

Raymond Hill, the author of the uBlock Origin extension, told The Register that Microsoft (and Google) claims that this change will improve privacy. “These do not deprecate the Web Request API, but the * blocking feature * of the Web Request API, specifically the” webRequest Blocking “permission. The WebRequest API is still available and can provide information about all network requests. In contrast to what these announcements say, it is launched by the browser, but the deprecation of the blocking feature of the webRequest API does nothing to the content blocker in terms of privacy.

Hill said that other features such as runtime host privileges (RTHP) and prohibition of remote code execution (RCE) are more effective at protecting privacy, but because RTHP is a browser feature and prohibits RCE. , Said they will not run in Manifest v3. This is a store policy issue, and the announcement of Manifest v3 is not an API that improperly attribute virtues (RTHP and non-RCE) to Manifest v3, which is technically unrelated to Manifest v3. “

Hill also quoted the EFF report. [or Microsoft] Manifest V3 claims to be good for user privacy and security, but don’t expect Manifest V3 to curb innovation and compromise Chrome users’ privacy and security. “

Microsoft’s Edge has a smaller market share than Chrome and its web advertising business is smaller than Google, but because it has an advertising service, it is vulnerable to the same allegations that it wants to protect it. That said, corporate security is also a company’s top priority, so this can be related to privacy, security, and performance.

Even if Microsoft and Google are on the same page for Manifest v3, users still have many other options. Mozilla has a FAQ on this subject, stating that “Firefox is not obliged to implement all parts of v3” and “I have no plans to remove the blocked webRequest immediately”. That said, the Firefox company “is waiting for more clarity and is beginning to investigate the efforts needed to adapt.” It is also possible to implement content blocking technology where the browser works outside the extended API.

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