Hypothesis Chrome Extension Permissions

By lenazun | 15 March, 2016

When you install the Hypothesis Chrome extension, you will receive a notification from the Chrome browser asking for a certain set of permissions.

A screenshot of the Hypothesis Chrome Extension permissions popup window, saying: "Add Hypothesis Web & PDF Annotation? It can: Read and change all the data on websites you visit."

Chrome overstates what Hypothesis needs permission to do. We ask for these permissions because the extension needs them in order to work with your browser and enable you to annotate the websites you visit. However, our intention is only to access the minimum permissions we need to in order to do these things on your behalf, and nothing more. We don’t monitor, track or collect any of your personal data beyond what is necessary for creating, saving and reading your annotations. Hypothesis does not generate revenue from advertising or from selling metrics to third parties.

The language and definition of these permissions are set by the Chrome browser, and they are meant to tell users what the kinds of data the extension will be able to access. (To read more about Chrome extensions permissions there’s a great article about it in Lifehacker, and much more technical documentation at the Chrome website.)

Some permissions change during updates, and you may occasionally be asked to approve a new one. For example, we once updated our Chrome extension to require a new permission as part of the work we’re doing to allow users to link directly to an annotation in context.

This is how we use permissions in the Hypothesis extension based on how Chrome describes them:

    • Read and change all your data on the websites you visit: We ask this so that we can inject the annotator code into the page, interact with the text on it, and add and read annotations. We don’t read or modify any other data on the page and do not read, access, change, or record any information like usernames, passwords, or other information you might be providing to a website you are annotating.

Your privacy is very important for us and we’re trying our best to ask you for as little information as we can. If you have any questions or would like some more details, please let us know and we’ll help you out!

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