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Is Google's Proposed Web Environment Integrity API A Step Towards Browser Monopoly? Developer Raises Alarm

Google's proposed Web Environment Integrity API has ignited a serious debate within the developer community, with some expressing fears that the new technology could undermine open web standards and user privacy. Jake Rarisma, a developer, is one of the latest voices to express concerns about the potential implications of Google's proposal.

"Honestly your proposal scares me and it clearly scares other people too. I've seen this proposal from its first day and yet I am unable to find anyone online who supports this that isn't being paid by Google/Alphabet," wrote Rarisma.

Rarisma expressed fear that the new API could be abused to further consolidate Chrome's dominance in the browser market, a situation he described as 'already rather egregious.' He highlighted the potential for technology like WEI to restrict access to certain applications or functionalities, citing his personal experiences with his rooted Pixel phone:

"I own a computer and everything runs as I'd like it, yet my phone deems me unworthy of accessing certain applications when I access the phone's root account. For example, my banking says that because my Pixel is rooted I am no longer able to access and control my own money."

Rarisma warned that the proposed API could be used to force users to run stock Chrome or other attester-approved browsers, even if this wasn't the intention of the developers behind WEI. He further speculated that the widespread adoption of WEI could potentially deal a blow to the development of open-source browsers.

"This will be used to force people to run stock Chrome or other attester-approved browsers whether you (the guys developing WEI) wanted it to or not, this could be a death blow to open source browser development if this becomes widespread."

The developer expressed skepticism about Google's commitment to serving the interests of internet users and humanity over its own interests, citing a 'long history of Google doing and implementing unethical practices that actively go against the users' wishes.'

Rarisma questioned the likelihood of the proposed API achieving its goals, particularly in the context of preventing bulk account creation and compromised device detection. He also noted the opposition to the implementation of WEI from other browser developers, including WebKit, Brave, and Mozilla, and highlighted the potential for Google Chrome to become an 'actual monopoly' if WEI is widely adopted.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions, please take a long hard look at what this leads to," Rarisma concluded, voicing a sentiment echoed by many in the community as this debate continues to unfold.

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