Microsoft Edge is introducing Storage Access API, allowing devs to detect privacy settings and request access

Microsoft Edge storage access API
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Email Twitter: @RabiaNoureen11 Jul 9th, 2020 inNews

Microsoft is currently working on a new privacy feature for Microsoft Edge called “Storage Access API.” Developers will get a way to determine whether their site’s access to browser storage is restricted by a user’s privacy settings and directly request storage access from users if so. The capability should assist developers in implementing the functionality to let visitors temporarily suspend certain aspects of their browser’s tracking prevention features.

As for the users, Storage Access API will provide more transparency into how their browsing experience is being affected by privacy settings. The new Microsoft Edge browser offers tracking prevention by default that helps in blocking unwanted access by any untrusted or third-party websites. When you visit a site on the latest version of Microsoft Edge Canary and Dev, depending on their privacy settings, you may see the following prompt while interacting with third-party content such as embedded videos or social media widgets:

Screenshot of the prompt that appears when a site requests permission to use cookies and site data on another site

If you choose to allow this access, the embedded content on that site will continue to work properly and the website will also be able to access its own cookies and site data. Moreover, the untrusted website will be temporarily added to Settings > Site permissions > Cookies and site data > Cookies and site data you’ve temporarily allowed section as shown above in the featured image.

The permission will be granted for 30 days from the time you first allowed it, and it will automatically expire after the completion of that period. However, if you don’t allow this access, the content will continue to be blocked by your browser’s privacy settings.

It is worth noting that these temporary permissions may allow those sites to track your activity across the web and you can remove them at any time by going to Settings and more > Settings > Site permissions > Cookies and site data, or by just selecting “Site permissions” when you clear your browsing data. Moreover, your device will locally keep cookies and site data that is stored by these sites with these permissions, and it can also be easily removed by choosing “Cookies and other site data” while deleting browsing history.

Considering that privacy remains a major concern for users, this new feature should be useful for the reinforcement of user privacy by blocking unwanted access by third parties. The Storage Access API is gradually rolling out for all Microsoft Edge Insiders, so you may not see the new settings right away. If you want to get early access to this feature, feel free to enable the “Storage Access API” flag in edge://flags, and check out the official blog post to learn more.

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