Google has announced that it will release an update for its Chrome browser which will fix a loophole that allowed websites to detect when users were browsing in Incognito mode.
The fix for this issue will be released in an update at the end of July, and Google noted that it may affect publishers which used the loophole to deter metered paywall circumvention.
This loophole revolves around Chrome’s FileSystem API, which is disabled in Incognito Mode to prevent leaving any traces of search history on a device. Websites can currently check whether this API is available, and if it is not, they can deduce that a visitor is browsing in Incognito Mode.
“We want you to be able to access the web privately, with the assurance that your choice to do so is private as well,” Google said.
“These principles are consistent with emerging web standards for private browsing modes.”
While this fix will give Chrome users additional privacy, it will also prevent websites from detecting when readers are circumventing metered paywalls.
“Our News teams support sites with meter strategies and recognize the goal of reducing meter circumvention, however any approach based on private browsing detection undermines the principles of Incognito Mode,” Google said.
“We remain open to exploring solutions that are consistent with user trust and private browsing principles.”