Browsers are ubiquitous because we need them to navigate the web. But how does your browser deal with your data? A million-dollar question.
Luckily, someone did the dirty job of investigating popular browsers available In the market and ranked them based on their privacy.
The report published by a Trinity College Dublin computer scientist, Doug Leith, has all the answers you need.
He dug into several browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Brave, Edge, and Yandex.
The investigation involved an analysis of the data sent by browsers that could be used to track users in the long term.
From the report, Microsoft Edge and Yandex are the worst of them all. These two browsers “send persistent identifiers that can be used to link requests (and associated IP address/location) to backend servers.”
“Edge also sends the hardware UUID of the device to Microsoft, and Yandex similarly transmits a hashed hardware identifier to back end servers,” the report states.
The collection of these identifiers, according to the report, means that users can still be traced even after fresh browser installs. Besides, the data can also be used to link apps running on the same device.
The report ranks Brave as the most-privacy focused browser. Brave doesn’t collect any unique identifiers that could be leveraged to track IP addresses. The browser does not collect any details on browsing activities whatsoever, with the backend servers.
Chrome, Firefox, and Safari were put under one category while Edge and Yandex ranked as the least privacy-focused browsers among the six.
Mozilla, in its part, says browsing history is only sent to backend servers when Sync is enabled. This data is end-to-end encrypted to ensure it’s only accessible by the end-user, says Mozilla.
A Microsoft representative defended the company, saying it uses these kinds of data to improve its products. It is not, however, linked with users’ Microsoft account. Head over to Microsoft’s support center to disable the feature here.
Apple declined to comment on the matter, and Google has not turned up for the party yet.