GOOGLE HAS REMOVED five 'ad-blocking' extensions from Google Chrome after it was revealed they were harvesting data on users of the browser.
It is estimated that 20 million users have installed AdRemover for Google Chrome, uBlock Plus, Adblock Pro, HD for YouTube and Webutation.
One of the five dodgy add-ons accounts for around half of the victims, according to researchers from AdGuard, and whilst two are not just ad-blockers, they all take advantage of the same exploit - cloning existing ad-blocking software and re-compiling it as a new app that can also access data from the user.
None of these products has any connection to the two biggest ad blocking apps - Adblock and Adblocker Plus. The rather generic names of these prominent apps actually play into the hands of those trying to exploit users as "ad-block" and "ad-blocker" are very likely the search terms you'll use.
Other ad-blocking software may be considered safe, but some of it does take logs or manipulate your browser behaviour - it's all there in the terms and conditions.
The good news is that Google has now removed these apps so you can't download them anymore. If you've already downloaded it, remove it and find something else.
However, remember the rule that if you aren't buying a product, you are the product - a free ad blocker is probably an ad blocker with an agenda.
Google is already making its own inroads into regulating the frontier of advertising in its browser. It now offers automatic ad-blocking for ads that fall outside rules set out by the Coalition for Better Ads, of which it is a member.
Additionally, in Chrome 66, released yesterday, it began intelligently stopping auto-play content on web pages, unless certain criteria are met, such as previous interaction with that client.
Opera, which is also based on Chromium, includes an ad-locker by default. µ
The week in Google
The scandal that just keeps giving
Clip to the end....