Chrome 56 Now Tells Websites Info About Your Bluetooth Setup

When Google released Chrome 56 at the end of January, it touted a major improvement by flagging non HTTPS compliant sites. Which means that you’ll know when you’re going to a potentially unsafe site. That’s a good thing. However it also slipped in something else. Chrome now lets websites ask about users’ Bluetooth devices and harvest information from them through the browser. Now, you have to grant a website access to your Bluetooth gadgets before anything happens.But if you do, it can see everything from your mouse, to your fridge, to anything else that might be connected to your computer via Bluetooth.

Here’s why I have a problem about this.

We’ve now gone beyond having websites scan for what browser or OS you’re running. Now someone, be it a marketing type or a hacker, can find out if you’re have a smart fridge, or Bluetooth trackers, or smart lights in your home. At the very least, these are new avenues for you to be the recipient of targeted marketing. At worst, this opens the doors to hackers who could cause all sorts of chaos. This is an absolutely horrific idea that I hope get binned and quickly.

In the meantime if you get a request to let a website access Bluetooth, your best course of action is to say no. At least until a way to disable this in the browser is found. Your other course of action is to switch browsers, but I suspect that it may not be long before a similar “feature” starts to show up in other browsers.

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