Google has updated its Chrome web browser to prevent websites see when visitors are using Incognito Mode, making it easier for people to bypass paywalls on websites.
The latest update is designed to improve users’ privacy by preventing websites from monitoring when people are using the private browsing feature.
In situations such as political oppression or domestic abuse, people may have important safety reasons for concealing their web activity and their use of private browsing features.”
One of the consequences of the update is that it will affect some web publishers who monitor visitors using Incognito Mode to ensure they are not able to get around metered paywall.
Certain news publishers and other websites offer a limited amount of free content before a visitor has to pay for a subscription.
In order to get around this limit, some people use Incognito Mode to make it appear as though they have never visited the website before.
The new Chrome update will mean websites who protect their paywall by blocking people who use Incognito Mode will no longer be able to.
In its blog post, Google said that people’s privacy must be prioritised over the income streams of online publishers.
“Our News teams support sites with meter strategies and recognise the goal of reducing meter circumvention, however any approach based on private browsing detection undermines the principles of Incognito Mode,” Google said.