Brave Browser won't support Google's Web Environment Integrity API
Last week, Google engineers published information about a new API, called Web Environment Integrity API, which it considered integrating into Chromium and of course Google Chrome. Despite claims that the API was just a proposal at the time, some part of it already landed in Chromium.
Broken down to its core, websites and services may use the API to find out if a client is trusted. Trust is determined by an attester, an authoritative party. In other words: an illustrious circle of attesters may soon control whether a user's operating system, web browser or other application that is used is trustworthy.
You can check out Ashwin's guide on Web Environment Integrity API for additional details.
Several web developers and companies have criticized Google's proposal already. Vivaldi engineer Julien Picalausa calls the API dangerous because if gives the deciding entities power and control. Users who run new browsers, browsers that are not trusted by the entities or legacy software might see themselves blocked from accessing sites and services on the Internet. Linux users might be on the receiving end, as might users who run adblockers.
Broken down to its core, critics believe that Google is trying to implement a DRM-like technology for the Web that is giving it, and a few companies that it needs, a lot of control over the future web.
Brave Software CEO Brendan Eich announced on Twitter that Brave Browser won't ship with the Web Environment Integrity API. He wrote: "We are a fork, have been all along, the “reskinned” claim is complete nonsense. We won’t be shipping WEI support, just as we disable or otherwise nullify lots of other junk that Google puts into Chromium".
Both Vivaldi and Brave use Chromium as the source for the browser, but both browsers have some features turned off and custom code added.
Mozilla Firefox engineer Brian Grinstead confirmed on GitHub that Mozilla is opposing the proposal "contradicts our principles and vision for the Web".
It is important that companies and software developers speak out openly against Google's proposal and intent to ship the Web Environment Integrity API. Granted, the three mentioned browsers are not in a position to change Google's stance on the matter, at least when it comes to market share. The situation might be different if Apple or Microsoft objected to the proposal, or if major Internet services would oppose it right away.
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