A few weeks ago, we reported Chrome 76 would make it harder to run Flash – because Flash just won’t die – as well as potentially make it much easier to bypass article paywalls. That update is now available.
Basically, if you come across a paywall, you can visit the page in incognito mode. That’s it. I can’t imagine affected publishers will be too happy about the change.
Truth be told, that’s kind of how incognito mode was always supposed to work – and how it used to. It blocks a site’s ability to read or write cookies on your devices, in theory preventing publishers from knowing how many articles you’ve read.
Publishers previously responded by simply making articles unavailable altogether if they detect you’re in incognito mode. They did this by checking if a feature called the FileSystem API was disabled in your browser to determine your browsing mode (standard or incognito).
Chrome 76 prevents the FileSystem API status from being detectable. And indeed, I was able to get through the paywalls of each of the pages I tested.
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