Online anonymity: the 3 best private browsers
January 5, 2022
When surfing the Internet we inevitably leave footprints, which are used by sites to distinguish us from the many other Internet users.
This makes it easier for us to find what we are looking for, but it is not a perfect system and can go against our need for privacy. Let’s find out how to surf online in the most private way.
What information do websites collect?
One way in which sites collect information is through cookies. Properly managing cookies is the first step towards good privacy while surfing the net.
Sites also use browser fingerprints, which began to be exploited after the spread of ad-blockers.
These allow advertisers and websites to collect a lot of information about the user device and thus identify the user quite precisely. Basically, the browser automatically sends a lot of information such as the plug-ins used, the screen resolution, the time zone and the operating system in use.
All this information is used to uniquely identify a specific user as the characteristics of the browser and device are unique and unlikely to be similar to those of other users.
The browser fingerprint contains information about characteristics of the device being used. The information provided by the fingerprint serves to fully or partially identify individual users or devices even when cookies are deactivated.
How to protect your privacy online
There are some free and easy-to-use tools to find out whether the browser you use protects you from fingerprint tracking, or what information it makes visible to sites:
Simply go to the website of one of these 3 tools and make a short check.
Privacy extensions and plug-ins
Browser extensions and plug-ins are more effective than regular incognito surfing. They block tracking requests and when it is not possible to do so at all, they disguise the data transmitted and mix it randomly so that your fingerprints cannot actually be associated with your identity by advertisers.
For instance, the browser will not send the real screen resolution, but a different one; it will not send the exact software version of the browser used, it will not send the name of the graphics card, and so on.
These types of software treat cookies in the same way, in that they are either blocked directly or accepted but the data transmitted will be different from the real one.
Here are some useful extensions (Young Platform does not guarantee for these services):
- Privacy Badger
- CyDec Anti fingerprint
The best privacy-focused browsers
In recent years, public opinion has become increasingly sensitive to the issue of online privacy, and trust in internet companies has declined.
For this reason, a number of browsers have been developed that focus primarily on protecting the personal data of users surfing the Web. The enormous advantage of this type of browser is the fact that they are set by default to limit as much as possible any form of tracking, so there is no need to configure them and they are extremely easy to use even for those who do not have particular technical-computer skills.
Here are the 3 best private browsers.
Tor and the Onion Router
The ultimate private browser is certainly Tor, which in addition to providing robust privacy, also offers its own Internet protocol (The Onion Router) as an alternative to classic TCP/IP. All data are protected by several layers of encryption (just like an onion) and pass through one of the over 6000 nodes that make up the network, the consequence being that the user is anonymous and extremely difficult to track down.
The Brave Browser and BAT
Another very popular one is the Brave browser, supported by the cryptocurrency BAT and based on the code of the open-source browser Chromium.
By default it is set to screen all cookies, tracking systems and advertisements, but it also offers the user the option of receiving non-targeted advertisements from the products themselves, with rewards in the BAT token received in the cryptocurrency wallet integrated directly into the Brave browser.
It also allows advertisers to save considerably on advertising costs. Brave has even launched the possibility of making video calls anonymously via Brave Talk, a small open-source extension that can be integrated into the browser, which works very similarly to classic calling programmes but puts the user’s privacy first, as authentication is not even required to initiate a call.
Mozilla Firefox and Quantum
Mozilla Firefox is one of the most widely used browsers in the world, and if configured correctly it provides a fair level of privacy. It is not based on Chromium, unlike most browsers, but on Quantum, a project of the Mozilla company. One of the advantages is the huge marketplace of extensions, where you can also find extensions relating to the protection of personal data.
Which browser to choose for privacy?
Assess which one is best suited to your needs and which one provides the best performance, also depending on your device and operating system.
You can further improve your privacy by setting up a different search engine than Google, such as DuckDuckGo, which does not collect and store any search data.
Cookies and fingerprints can be useful and especially practical not only for companies, but also for Internet users. However, some perceive the collection of data as excessive or unwanted.
We now know that there are plenty of tools to give you control over the management of your data. Thanks to this variety of services, compromises can be made between a user-friendly online experience and a good level of privacy.