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Best Privacy Browsers For User Privacy

Shimon Brathwaite's profile image

By: Shimon Brathwaite

August 19, 2021

It is well known that both governments and corporations are collecting people’s information for profit. Therefore, user privacy is an important concern for many individuals. Programs such as the Fourteen Eyes Surveillance Alliance not only prove that there is a plan to gather information on everyday civilians, but it shows that it has been developed and ongoing for several years. In response to this, many users look for ways to hide their identity online to browse the Web without worrying about who is collecting their information. The following is a list of the best browsers for protecting user privacy:

1. Firefox

While Firefox has lost popularity, it is one of the best browsers for security and privacy. It is a fast and lightweight browser that is also open source. This means that Firefox code has been heavily reviewed and scrutinized by developers; therefore, there is no sketchy code hidden within Firefox. Firefox also has a private browsing mode that provides users with tracking, malware, and phishing protection. It also blocks pop-up ads and gives anti-fingerprinting protection. You can also choose to disable telemetry, which will prevent the browser from sending information on your usage and performance to Mozilla.

2. Waterfox

Waterfox is a popular alternative to Firefox browser; it is more privacy-focused, has tracking protection, and removes many of Firefox’s default settings that decrease user privacy, such as Pocket, Telemetry, Data Collection, and Startup Profiling. It also provides users with the option to erase all online data on your system without needing any add-ons. Waterfox comes with two main disadvantages compared to the regular Firefox browser. Firstly, it updates less frequently than the original Firefox browser. Secondly, its webpage data goes through Google’s SafeBrowsing service, which may not be something comfortable. However, you can opt-out of this service if you like.

3. The Onion Router (TOR)

Edward Snowden has endorsed this browser and is one of the best-known browsers when it comes to online anonymity. It hides the user’s identity by routing all of the traffic through a set of hidden relay servers. Whenever the user tries to connect to a web server, the traffic will bounce between multiple different servers on the TOR network, making it extremely difficult for a website to know which server initiated the connection. Also, TOR encrypts your traffic three times by three different nodes, all of which are decentralized and operated by volunteers. Each node will only remove one layer of encryption; no one node can access your full message. Since there isn’t any concentrated system in one organization, it makes it difficult for someone to intercept the traffic. Lastly, TOR automatically gets rid of any cookies and browsing history every time a session ends. The only downside of *TOR *is that it is slower than most browsers because of all of the security features.

4. Epic

Epic is another browser that is designed with privacy. Epic is a private and secure web browser that blocks ads, trackers, fingerprinting, crypto mining, ultrasound signaling, and more! It also does not store your history, login data, databases, or any other information. By default, the Epic browser comes with every privacy setting enabled to maximize privacy, but you can always change these settings to improve convenience or speed at your discretion. One impressive feature of Epic is that it makes user privacy protection quantifiable by tracking how many cookies were blocked and from what sources. However, there is one drawback: unlike Firefox or Waterfox, the Epic browser is based on the chromium source code created by Google and is not open-source. Therefore, the community has not been vetted in the same way an open-source project would be.

5. Brave

The last browser on this list has a good balance between speed, convenience, and user privacy. Brave is a lightweight chromium-based browser with a built-in ad blocker, password manager, tracking protection, script blocker, and one-click anti-fingerprinting function. It can also upgrade your connections to HTTPS to ensure encrypted communications. In terms of convenience, this browser supports most chrome extensions, which allows the user to receive all of the features they are used to while using a more secure browser.

However, it is important to note that these extensions can compromise a user’s privacy depending on the extension features. Brave is also open-source, which is always good for getting peer reviews. A few people have had with Brave is their advertising platform, which has been found to autocomplete URLs to their affiliate partners. Essentially, directing traffic to their partners for a profit, while this is not a huge privacy violation, is worth mentioning.

Other Tips For Staying Anonymous Online

Use safe search engines: If you are concerned about your search history being shared, it is best to use search engines known for not recording your search history. For example, DuckDuckGo is one of the most well-known search engines for remaining anonymous online. Browsers like Google Chrome have advertised that modes like incognito do not record a user’s search history, but it has been discovered that this is not a safe option. *Google *is currently facing a $5 billion lawsuit over tracking users in incognito mode.

Use VPNs: VPN stands for virtual private network, and it is a great way to help prevent people from tracking a user’s IP address. Simply put, the VPN provides a secure connection between a user’s computer and the server they are connecting to. There are several VPN services that users can choose from, and most of them will not cause a noticeable decrease in a computer’s performance. Users should keep in mind that they should choose a provider that is not affiliated with the government or corporations most concerned with eavesdropping on their activities. Remember that VPNs are managed by a provider who is still governed by the companies’ rules and regulations. Therefore, users must ensure that they are using a provider that is governed by a country that is trusted. Two well-known providers that you can consider using are NordVPN and Surfshark.

Recap

Remaining anonymously online can be extremely difficult in today’s society. Companies are becoming more data-driven than ever, and everything about a user, from their browsing history to where they look on webpages, is not extremely valuable to companies. Some people may not mind giving up privacy in return for more specialized products and marketing, but many people are not comfortable having their activities recorded. If you are someone that wants to protect yourself, start by using a browser that you trust. Almost all of our online activities occur through our web browser, which will store most of our information.

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