“Google is proposing a new standard called WebBundles,” according to Brave’s senior privacy researcher. Brave is an alternate web browser, competition to Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. From the Brave website:
This proposed standard allows websites to ‘bundle’ resources together, and will make it impossible for browsers to reason about sub-resources by URL.
“This threatens to change the Web from a hyperlinked collection of resources (that can be audited, selectively fetched, or even replaced), to opaque all-or-nothing “blobs” (like PDFs or SWFs). Organizations, users, researchers and regulators who believe in an open, user-serving, transparent Web should oppose this standard…
The Web is valuable because it’s user-centric, user-controllable, user-editable. Users, with only a small amount of expertise, can see what web-resources a page includes, and decide which, if any, their browser should load; and non-expert users can take advantage of this knowledge by installing extensions or privacy protecting tools… At root, what makes the Web different, more open, more user-centric than other application systems, is the URL. Because URLs (generally) point to one thing, researchers and activists can measure, analyze and reason about those URLs in advance; other users can then use this information to make decisions about whether, and in what way, they’d like to load the thing the URL points to…
By changing URLs from meaningful, global identifiers into arbitrary, package-relative indexes, WebBundles give advertisers and trackers enormously powerful new ways to evade privacy and security protecting web tools… At root, the common cause of all these evasions is that WebBundles create a local namespace for resources, independent of what the rest of the world sees, and that this can cause all sorts of name confusion, undoing years of privacy-and-security-improving work by privacy activists and researchers…
We’ve tried to work at length with the WebBundle authors to address these concerns, with no success. We strongly encourage Google and the WebBundle group to pause development on this proposal until the privacy and security issues discussed in this post have been addressed. We also encourage others in the Web privacy and security community to engage in the conversation too, and to not implement the spec until these concerns have been resolved.
via Watts Up With That?
September 1, 2020 at 01:04AM