The Best Browsers for Your Privacy in 2021

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Today we are going to be taking a deep dive into browser privacy. Piggybacking off my article last week, I want to explore different popular web browsers and see which one protects your privacy the most.  Maybe it is time that you change up browsers. 

What is browser privacy

Every browser is created differently.  Most browsers are completely free and some even come bundled with your computer.  Every browser comes with their specific methods of tracking its users.  If you value your privacy, you may pick one browser over another.  If you value speed or scalability, you might pick a different browser altogether.  Today, we are going to be taking a closer look at popular web browsers and compare their privacy policies.  

Incognito Mode

But, before we jump into analyzing all the different browsers, I want to talk about incognito mode.  Most modern browsers have a special mode that allows you to browse the internet privately.  This is perfect for when you are trying to stay hidden online and avoid having to have your personal information tracked by websites.  The locations of websites you visit are forgotten and the login information you provide to websites are also not saved.  I like to use this mode when I’m trying to log into different accounts on the same website without having to fire up a different web browser.  But not all things are glorious when browsing privately.  You may have noticed that some websites basically do not work.  Some will complain that you have an ad blocker enabled and that you need to enable it if you want to continue using the site.  You might be logging into a website that requires your username and password, except that you cannot remember your password.  Or, the website might prompt you to do a 2FA every time because it cannot remember who you are.  Privacy comes with a price and for some, they do not mind paying that price.  Inconvenience when using the internet is the price you must determine if you want to pay when browsing privately.  Now, let’s look at how popular browsers manage your privacy.

Edge – The Browser for Business

Edge comes with every install of Windows 10.  I personally do not use this browser because I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the internet explorer days.  Edge touts two major things that I am observing on their website.  First, it’s compatibility.  Edge is supposed to work with all the legacy internet explorer apps.  The second is safety.  A good portion of their web page explains all the different ways that Edge protects you online from malware and other types of threats.  After some searching, I did manage to find a link on privacy.  What is interesting is how much Edge is marketed towards business and enterprise professionals.  By default, Edge is configured to follow your Windows 10 privacy settings.  This is bad because if you don’t know, Windows 10 likes to spy on you A LOT.  They also have a white paper on their privacy policy, which basically just state show they are tracking you. Microsoft is very transparent here on how they track you for your convenience. In conclusion, Edge is tracking you a lot to help Microsoft improve the overall experience of Windows.  Use at your own caution.

Safari

Another web browser that comes installed with every computer sold is Safari.  Every Mac has this browser installed by default. Let’s take a look at what Apple markets on their website.  Right out of the gate, they address speed and privacy.  Safari offers intelligent tracking prevention which identifies trackers and helps prevent them from following you across the web.  For every website you visit, a privacy report is generated which allows you to see all the trackers that were blocked.  Think of this like an ad blocker.  I really do not use Safari all that much, but I think it’s time I start giving it a shot.  

Chrome

Everyone’s favorite browser, Chrome.  Chrome is known for its speed, but most recently, it has received bad press because it takes up so many computing resources.  Interestingly enough, there is no mention of privacy on their website for Chrome. I’m not surprised as Google depends on being able to track your each and every move to enhance your experience and their profits.  There is a general privacy disclaimer, but it’s more of a generic Google privacy and nothing specific to the browser.  I think it might be time to switch browsers!

Firefox

Another fan favorite, Firefox.  Firefox comes out swinging with privacy as well.  Unlike other browsers, we have no financial stake in following you around the web.  Powerful words right there.  They offer a little interactive widget that allows you to see how Firefox protects your privacy when compared to other browsers.  They offer third party cookie blocking, fingerprint blocking, cryptominer blocking and much more.  Overall, Firefox is a solid browser that many already use. If I had to pick between Chrome or Firefox, I’d pick Firefox. I really need to get off of Chrome.

Opera

And finally, a browser that isn’t very well known but thought I would throw it into the mix.  You may remember Opera browser from our discussion on VPN’s.  Let’s see how they value privacy. With their built in VPN, privacy is obviously a high priority.   It also has built in ad blocking and cryptocurrency mining blocking.  If you aren’t a big fan of Firefox and you do not want to go to Chrome, I think Opera makes a good browser.  I’ve personally never given it much thought. I’m personally going to switch to either Firefox or Safari.  

There you have it.  Your browser privacy 101 guide.  I hope you take my advice here and go protect yourself.  Be mindful of what data is being collected from you while you browse the internet.  What do you think of my analysis?  Are you going to change your default browser?  I know that this research has opened my eyes and I will most likely be making some changes in the near future.  

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