I’ve been experiencing reduced performance with Firefox for a few releases now. This decrease in performance happens even with a clean profile. So, I began testing other browsers. Two of them are Chromium and Brave. They are nice and whatnot, but they have two issues in common: they threaten browser engine diversity (remember the Internet Explorer dominance days and how that negatively impacted the web?) and the Chrome Store hellscape. There are a lot - and I mean a lot - of proprietary extensions on the Chrome Store. Even worse, some tend to be a privacy nightmare. I stumbled upon a screenshot extension, Lightshot, that logs everything it can, even if not related to its functionalities. Just look at the privacy policy:

Data that we may collect includes: device characteristics (including device ID for mobile devices), operating system, browser type, IP address, username from stored cookies if present, dates and times of each login, page and image viewing statistics, and incoming and outgoing links

It gets worse!

In addition to the automatically collected anonymous data described above, we may place information on your device and then retrieve it later: we may use cookies, web beacons, or other anonymous tracking information to improve our server’s interaction with your device. We also partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place and/or recognize cookies on your device that collect data about which pages and ads are viewed while our app or site is being used. Advertiser cookies enable customized ads that are selected for display on your device based on the anonymous information collected. If you block or disable cookies and other tracking technologies, instead of getting customized ads you will see non-customized (generic) ads.

All of this so you can take a fucking screenshot!

I ended up choosing Screenshot Tool, an open-source extension. All the other extensions I’m using are open-source (except for Grammarly). The web is already a privacy nightmare; I don’t want to deal with that when I install something on the browser.

Want to get scared? Check your extensions’ privacy policies. I bet you’ll find out they collect data that you can’t connect with the functionalities they provide. Or worse: not stating they don’t sell your allegedly anonymized information. This kind of stuff will probably make me stick with Firefox or go with a fork like Librewolf or Waterfox.

image from Unsplash