Browsers

Posted by zbrom on July 03, 2021 · 4 mins read

Google Chrome has ultimately become the de facto web browser used by most individuals on both their computers and mobile devices. Unfortunately, the browser is a massive data collection tool. The Washington Post reports that the browser delivered 11,000 tracker cookies in a single week. Mozilla Firefox is not perfect, but at least their business model does not depend on massive data collection.

Now more than ever, it has become imperative to ditch Google Chrome. Their new tracking and data collection system, called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is designed to group individuals into cohorts based on their browsing history and interests for the purpose of delivering advertisements.

Another excellent technique to utilize is called browser isolation, where the user isolates particular services to a given browser (e.g., only loading Gmail from a Chromium browser).


Privacy Browsers (Desktop):
  • Firefox – Hardened Firefox is currently one of the best options when it comes to choosing a privacy browser. The browser is open source, does not depend on Google, and can be heavily customized. ghorr recommends hardening the browser in order to remove telemetry, remove tracking elements, and prevent fingerprinting. Additionally, several extensions are recommended for privacy and security.

  • Brave – Brave is a chromium-based web browser and has a lot of privacy features out of the box. The browser has a built-in ad blocker and anti-fingerprinting protection.

  • Tor Browser – The Tor browser is a hardened and secured version of Firefox that runs on the Tor network bet default, making it great for privacy and anonymity. The browser does well with blocking fingerprinting. Additionally, the browser can easily be used to prevent JavaScript.

  • Ungoogled Chromium – Essentially the open source version of Google Chromium with all dependencies for Google web services removed.

  • LibreWolf – A fork of Firefox, focused on privacy, security, and freedom. Features no telemetry, private search engines, and built-in ad-blocking out of the box. Can be further hardened for increased security as well.

  • GNU Ice Cat – GNU Ice Cat is a fork of Firefox and is entirely Free Software. It features LibreJS, which blocks all non-free JavaScript, described in Richard Stallman’s article The JavaScript Trap. Additionally, it utilizes SpyBlock to block privacy trackers, along with anti-fingerprinting measures. Unfortunately, the browser does not receive frequent updates and is built on the extended release versions of Firefox (Firefox ESR).

Privacy Browsers (Android):
  • Fennec – The F-Droid version of Firefox for Android. Offers improved tracking protection from over 2,000 online trackers. Proprietary bits and telemetry is removed by default. The browser is open source, does not depend on Google, and can be heavily customized. ghorr still recommends hardening the browser in order to remove telemetry, remove tracking elements, and prevent fingerprinting.

  • Bromite – A privacy-focused alternative to Google Chrome with ad-blocking, anti-fingerprinting, and other privacy enhancements out of the box.

  • Brave – Brave is a chromium-based web browser and has a lot of privacy features out of the box. The browser has a built-in ad blocker and anti-fingerprinting protection.