Is Edge taking browser data without permission? Here’s what Microsoft says

Microsoft Edge was a hot topic over the weekend as a result of a Reddit post alleging the browser imports browser data from Chrome and Firefox without permission. The text of the original post has since been deleted, but many comments echo the same sentiment, alleging that Microsoft Edge gathers data from Chrome and Firefox without permission.

One Redditor, orcusmorcus, states:

I just installed Edge today for testing, and I noticed my bookmarks from Firefox appear in the background/browser BEHIND the import acceptance dialog. The bookmarks disappeared after I said I didn’t want it to import anything. Obviously it still went looking before asking!

Other comments are along the same lines. The issue seems to be twofold. First, based on people’s experience and statements from Microsoft, Microsoft Edge is importing browser data before you give it permission to do so. You can opt to have that information discarded if you’d like, but for at least a moment, it was gathered before you gave Edge permission to do so. Second, if you stop the first run experience of Microsoft Edge early, some of the data might not be fully deleted.

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We reached out to Microsoft after spotting the Reddit thread. A Microsoft spokesperson sent us the following statement:

We believe browser data belongs to the customer and they have the right to decide what they should do with it. Like other browsers, Microsoft Edge offers people the opportunity to import data during setup.

Microsoft also provided background on the first run experience of Microsoft Edge:

During the first run experience, the customer is presented the opportunity to keep or discard the imported data. This data is discarded if they choose not to proceed with the import. If a customer terminates the new Microsoft Edge browser prematurely during the first run experience (e.g. using Task Manager), residual data may not be fully deleted. We recommend customers not shut down the setup process prematurely to ensure an expected result.

Note that in the background information from Microsoft, it states “opportunity to keep or discard the imported data.” It does not state that there is an option to not have the data imported in the first place.

If you are concerned about the imported data, you should go through the first run experience entirely and select to discard the data. If you close the experience early with Task Manager some data could stick around.

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