Online activity is normally tracked for marketing and analytics purposes. This isn’t automatically a problem, as it can be useful. It helps marketers and creators to improve their online content and build a profile to make your browsing experience easier and more enjoyable.
However, being tracked excessively can mean getting spammed with ads and there, are some concerns about how this impacts online privacy for users.
Choosing the right browser is essential, so here’s everything you need to know about the most popular web browsers and how they protect your online privacy:
1. Google Chrome
Google Chrome is the world’s leading web browser, with around 50% of web users. It’s popular because it’s fast and easy to use. But how safe is it?
Chrome has been open about the fact that it collects data and tracks users for marketing purposes. It only blocks the minimum for cookies and trackers, and there have been cases of privacy violations to increase the company’s profits.
The browser interacts with your Google account via the sync feature, which means it automatically collects search and location data.
Although most experts believe the platform is safe, they also note that it gives less privacy than some alternatives. This can be improved by using plug-ins to reduce ads, such as AdBlock, DuckDuckGo, NoScript, or Privacy Badger.
According to a report by the consumer group Which?, the Brave browser was one of the only browsers that removed advertising banners and advertising panels from websites.
After carrying out thorough tests, they found that the browser was a better option for privacy-conscious consumers, as well as being easy to install and use.
3. Microsoft Edge
The Which? report found that Microsoft Edge was slightly more effective at removing cookies and trackers than Google Chrome. When testing it on the website, “The Guardian”, they found that 47 cookies were active on Edge, compared with 138 on Chrome. However, they also noted that not all cookies are bad, and some can be useful for your web experience.
The report also found that Microsoft Edge removed most of the trackers from websites that were tested – significantly more the Chrome, even with Privacy Badger.
4. Mozilla Firefox
A recent report by TechRadar found that Mozilla Firefox could be a better option than Chrome when it comes to protecting users’ privacy. It’s still a user-friendly option, but doesn’t track browser histories and has regular security updates.
It also has other features like automatic tracking cookies blocking, anti-phishing and anti-malware, encrypted connection, and capability with third-party security extensions.
TechRadar voted Tor as the best browser for private browning. The browser is Firefox-based and centred around privacy, with advanced security features to protect against tracking.
Tor blocks all scripts by default, hides your IP address, and runs in anonymous browsing mode. Everything is lost after closing down the browser window, including cookies, browsing history, and passwords, which is less convenient but gives more security protection.