These days most people are very concerned about protecting their privacy while using the Internet.
If you happen to value your online privacy you’ll probably be interested in the results of a recent study on browser privacy that released to the public a few months back.
The School of Computer Science & Statistics at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland recently conducted an in-depth study to determine which of the most popular web browsers did the best job at protecting the privacy of their users.
After all was said and done they concluded that the Brave browser was the most private browser of them all, far exceeding the browser that came in at number two.
If you’re interested you can read the entire results summary for yourself, but here is the gist of the findings:
“In summary, based on our measurements we find that the browsers split into three distinct groups from this privacy perspective. In the first (most private) group lies Brave, in the second Chrome, Firefox and Safari and in the third (least private) group lie Edge and Yandex.
Used “out of the box” with its default settings Brave is by far the most private of the browsers studied. We did not find any use of identifiers allowing tracking of IP address over time, and no sharing of the details of web pages visited with backend servers.
Chrome, Firefox and Safari all tag data with identifiers that are linked to the browser instance (i.e. which persist across browser restarts but are reset upon a fresh browser install). All three share details of web pages visited with backend servers. This happens via the search autocomplete feature, which sends web addresses to backend servers in real time as they are typed. This functionality can be disabled by users, but in all three browsers is silently enabled by default.
In addition, Firefox includes identifiers in its telemetry transmissions that are used to link these over time. Telemetry can be disabled, but again is silently enabled by default. Firefox also maintains an open web socket for push notifications that is linked to a unique identifier and so potentially can also be used for tracking and which cannot be easily disabled.
Safari defaults to a poor choice of start page that leaks information to multiple third parties (Facebook, Twitter etc, sites not well known for being privacy friendly) and allows them to set cookies without any user consent. Start page aside, Safari otherwise made no extraneous network connections and transmitted no persistent identifiers, but allied iCloud processes did make connections
In summary, Chrome, Firefox and Safari can all be configured to be much more private but this requires user knowledge (since intrusive settings are silently enabled) and active intervention to adjust settings.”
In a nutshell, this means casual users who have neither the time nor the desire to research the various privacy settings for their chosen browser would be much better off from a privacy perspective if they installed the Brave browser instead of one of its better-known competitors.
Bonus tip: By now you probably know that Windows 10 is quite intrusive in respect to user privacy. This post explains how to quickly display (and lock down) ALL of Windows 10’s privacy settings.
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