If you use Microsoft Edge as your default browser, you might want to check your privacy settings. A recent report by The Verge reveals that the latest version of Edge is leaking the URLs of every website you visit to Bing API servers, potentially compromising your data privacy. This is not something Microsoft is doing intentionally but it is down to a bug.
The problem is a feature called “follow creators” that was added by Microsoft Edge in January 2022. This addition is supposed to let you follow your favorite content creators on YouTube and across the web, and notify you when they post new videos.
However, it seems that follow creators is currently misbehaving, and instead of sending only the URLs of content creators' pages to Bing, it sends nearly every domain you visit.
The issue was discovered first by Reddit user hackermchackface, who rote:
“What is causing Edge to leak all visited URLs following latest update? API is: bingapis.com/api/v7/followweb/isfollowable ?
GET request includes full url of every page navigate to.
Searching for References to this url give very few results, no documentation on this feature at all. Json response shows type as “FollowableStatus” which yields zero Google results, which is rare.”
Bing Could Build a Web Profile on You
In other words, Bing could potentially know every website you have been to and then create a profile on you based off your preferences and behavior. This could have serious implications for your online security and privacy, especially if you visit sensitive or personal websites.
Microsoft MVP and Stardock engineer Rafael Rivera told The Verge the following:
“Microsoft Edge now has a creator follow feature that is enabled by default, it appears the intent was to notify Bing when you're on certain pages, such as YouTube, The Verge, and Reddit. But it doesn't appear to be working correctly, instead sending nearly every domain you visit to Bing.”
Microsoft also reached out directly to The Verge, but only to confirm it is monitoring reports. Caitlin Roulston, director of communications at Microsoft, says:
“We're aware of reports, are investigating and will take appropriate action to address any issues.”
Until Microsoft fixes this problem, we recommend that you disable the “follow creators” feature in Microsoft Edge.
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