Hot Take Microsoft Edge reportedly imports user data from Chrome without user permission


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Aug 17, 2014
Microsoft Edge is acting up again. Following multiple controversies and reports of user-hostile practices, the browser ended up in hot waters one more time for openly stealing data from other browsers. Customers across the vast seas of the internet claim Microsoft Edge is siphoning open tabs and other information from Chrome without permission.

Microsoft's browser has a toggle you can use to automatically migrate data from Edge to Chrome, like open tabs, history, favorites, etc. During the initial setup, Edge asks users to allow it to sync with other browsers so they can seamlessly switch from Chrome or Firefox. That option is also available in settings turned off by default. Interestingly, Microsoft also prompts you to allow this behavior with a carefully crafted screen during Windows 10's out-of-box experience.

The idea is OK. What is not OK is how Edge seemingly does not care what option you pick and steals data from Chrome when it is not supposed to. Tom Warren from The Verge claims Edge took over his Chrome tabs on two devices without permission after the recent Windows updates. To add insult to injury, Microsoft Edge admitted its crimes by launching itself automatically with all the data copied from Chrome. Other users experienced the same software atrocities.

I never imported my data into Microsoft Edge, nor did I confirm whether I wanted to import my tabs. But here was Edge automatically opening after a Windows update with all the Chrome tabs I’d been working on. I didn’t even realize I was using Edge at first, and I was confused why all my tabs were suddenly logged out.
After the shock wore off, I looked to make sure I hadn’t accidentally allowed this behavior. I found a setting in Microsoft Edge that imports data from Google Chrome on each launch. “Always have access to your recent browsing data each time you browse on Microsoft Edge,” reads Microsoft’s description of the feature in Edge. This setting was disabled, and I had never been asked to turn it on. You can check for the setting at edge://settings/profiles/importBrowsingData.

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