Much of what you do online is tracked and recorded. Often times tech companies provide you with free access to software, apps, or a social media platform, and in exchange, they monitor, track, and log your emails, "Likes," posts, and more. One way tech companies track you is through your web browser such as Chrome or Firefox.
Your web browser collects pieces of data known as "cookies". If you're shopping online, cookies are used to remember what you put in your cart even when you navigate to different pages on the website. But, over time, your browser can store all kinds of cookies that have information such as your browsing history or any personal information you entered into a website. Some of these are called third-party cookies, which include "tracking cookies" that use your online history to deliver other ads. Advertisers can easily access this data on your web browser whether you want them to or not.
Some websites and tech companies also look at your device's fingerprint. This includes the software you're using, the size of your screen, your clock setting and other details about your device that they use to identify you. While fingerprinting is difficult to block, making your web browser smaller than full screen and using some of the extensions below can help.
While web browsers are designed to save some cookies in order to make some of the things you do online easier, some web browsers protect your privacy better than others. Here are a few web browsers that work to protect your privacy:
Automatically blocks all third-party and advertising cookies, and comes with built-in fingerprint protection.
Comes with advanced anti-fingerprinting and allows extensions to be installed on the browser to further protect your privacy. (This guide shows how to use the privacy settings in Firefox.)
Your online activities are encrypted through multiple layers and routed through three different servers providing you with a high level of anonymity.
You can increase your web browser's ability to protect your privacy by installing add-ins/extensions. These tools block ads, cookies, and other software used to track you.
Note that some of these tools might cause websites to stop working ("breaking" them). It is up to you to decide whether using a website is more important than protecting your privacy.
Privacy Badger automatically learns to block invisible trackers. Instead of keeping lists of what to block, Privacy Badger automatically discovers trackers based on their behavior. Privacy Badger sends the Global Privacy Control signal to opt you out of data sharing and selling, and the Do Not Track signal to tell companies not to track you. If trackers ignore your wishes, Privacy Badger will learn to block them.
uBlock Origin is one of the most effective ad-blocking web browser extensions. Many ads install cookies on your computer or can be used to install malware. uBlock Origin stops this from happening. Ad-blocking tools are a great way to protect your privacy and better secure your devices and computer.
Many websites load content from Google or other networks that can be used to track you. Decentraleyes keeps a library of those files available so the websites won't have to load them from Google. This protects your privacy and helps prevent other ad-blocking software from breaking websites.
HTTPS Everywhere automatically encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure whenever possible.