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I have 3 Firefox profiles set up ("home", "work", and "tmp") and one Chromium profile. I currently have Firefox open in the "home" profile and Chromium open. When I started another instance of Chromium with chromium --temp-profile, I noticed that the new instance's history matched the history in my Firefox "work" profile. The history sharing seems to be only one way (from Firefox to Chromium).

How is this possible?

I'm running GNU/Linux just in case that makes a difference.

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    Apparently Chromium tries to be helpful and automatically imports the data? Because they both run under the same user (I assume), they can both access each other's files. Firefox could do the same, if Mozilla were as obnoxious as Google. For the record, Firefox' history data is in ~/.mozilla/firefox/PROFILEID/places.sqlite and Chromium's in ~/.config/chromium/Default/History. Both are sqlite3 files. – Luc Apr 20 '17 at 12:00
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Your data is stored in files under your user profile. Programs running under your user account (or as root) can read any file in your user profile. The data formats differ between browsers, but all major browsers have code to import profiles from all other major browsers as part of their "make it easy for users to switch to using us" strategies. The only way you could prevent such cross-application data sharing would be to use some kind of sandboxing (run each browser in a different chroot, or a different VM, or as different users), or for the browser developers to make it possible to do things like encrypt the data files with a user-supplied password, and then you could just not supply Chromium the password for Firefox's data.

Of course, all of that only answers the "How" portion of the question. There's still a "Why" question, since usually such data import requires explicit user action and I would not expect it at all when launched with a --temp-profile parameter, but there we couled only speculate (or ask the developers).

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