Google is set to introduce an “IP Protection” feature in its Chrome browser to enhance user privacy by concealing their IP addresses through proxy servers. This move acknowledges the potential misuse of IP addresses for covert tracking, a concern associated with online privacy. IP addresses enable websites and online services to track user activities across the internet, raising significant privacy issues.
Furthermore, Google’s “IP Protection” aims to balance these concerns by routing third-party traffic from specific domains through proxies, rendering users’ IP addresses invisible to those domains. Initially, it will be an opt-in feature, ensuring users have control over their privacy and enabling Google to monitor usage trends.
Additionally, the introduction of the feature will occur in stages, with the initial phase focusing on Google’s domains in a “Phase 0” approach. Only users logged into Google Chrome with US-based IPs will have access to these proxies. Google plans to adopt a 2-hop proxy system in upcoming phases to further improve privacy.
However, potential security concerns exist, including the impact on security and fraud protection services’ ability to block DDoS attacks and detect invalid traffic. Additionally, if a Google proxy server is compromised, threat actors could manipulate the traffic passing through it. To address these issues, Google may require users to authenticate with the proxy, prevent proxies from linking web requests to specific accounts, and implement rate-limiting to thwart DDoS attacks.