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Microsoft Edge, the default web browser on Windows 10 and 11, is accused of automatically importing user data from Google Chrome without explicit user consent.
Users have reported instances where Edge opened with their Chrome tabs following a Windows update, even when the data import feature was intentionally disabled.
The Verge’s Tom Warren also tweeted about this anomaly. Edge’s behaviour has raised concerns about user consent and the transparency of data handling by the browser and Microsoft.
The cause of the issue remains uncertain, with speculation suggesting a brief and easily missed prompt during the update process that may have triggered unintentional data import or a bug.
Users have urged Microsoft to thoroughly investigate these reported issues and implement preventive measures to ensure unauthorised data transfers are avoided in the future.
Edge has been under scrutiny for a long time due to Microsoft’s aggressive promotion methods, including the full-screen prompts after the Windows update luring people to switch to Edge and Bing, inserting a poll asking users why they are trying another browser, or indulging in bad practices such as pop-ups to force users to choose Edge as a default browser.
Microsoft also habitually disguises settings as ‘recommended’ as users do not usually notice these settings. Also, those settings necessary for Microsoft are shown in big fonts, while others are shown in less prominent and small fonts. Users go with the flow and click on the immediate settings that they see. There’s only one winner in all this: Microsoft.
Concerned users have urged Microsoft to adopt the best advertisement and ethical data practices to maintain user trust.
As of now, Microsoft has yet to come out with a statement regarding the issue.
The controversy extends beyond individual users, with discussions emerging about potential actions within the European Union. EU users may soon have the option to uninstall Microsoft Edge easily, providing a straightforward solution for those concerned about the browser’s actions. Strict data privacy legislation in the EU, the Digital Markets Act, forced Microsoft to adopt a less aggressive approach to European users.
On the other hand, except for the EU, the rest of the world is still an open country for big techs like Microsoft, where they can experiment with user privacy and unethical advertisement practices.