The standard web browser you use is no longer what some folks like to use. Yes, you read that right! As illogical as that may sound, standard web browsers that have been around for the better part of a quarter of a century are now, in essence, becoming old news.
Wait, what do we mean by standard browser? We mean the commercial, run-of-the-mill browser you’ve been using for the past decade or longer. Of course, technology has changed a lot, and so have the demands of internet users. We are talking about privacy-conscious web browsers in this context.
Now, you may have not heard of privacy-conscious browsers, or even know what is meant by privacy. When combined with privacy measures (and some cybersecurity measures), a web browser becomes a different beast that is ready to withstand the pressures and risks of the vast, chaotic, mutable modern internet space.
What is a Privacy-Conscious Browser?
What is a web browser, anyway? Well, the term itself is pretty self-explanatory. A web browser is a piece of software used to browse the web, like browsing through a catalog or library. Without a web browser on our operating systems, there is no internet. It is the sole entry point to the world of the internet.
A web browser is constructed such that a user can enter his or her preferred web address in the address bar (such as https://www.thispage.com). Furthermore, modern web browsers can do several things such as stop, refresh and open multiple new tabs, if required. Some can even open several groups of tabs including numerous web pages. Of course, modern web browsers are compatible with all of the latest standards with graphical abilities and high-definition video streaming capabilities.
Web browsers are today, able to take full advantage of a device’s hardware. Your typical web browsers are ones such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. The former, for instance, has been around for decades and has effectively been replaced with Microsoft’s Edge browser. One thing these typical browsers have in common is that they are not private, or secure, nor do they stop tracking mechanisms from intruding on your private information online.
The problem is not the technical ability of these browsers, because they are quite capable of doing anything a more niche specialized browser can. That is, except for offering you honest, transparent, privacy and security. Now, let’s look at the browser which can do that for you.
Why Use a Privacy-Conscious Browser?
What we call privacy-conscious browsers means several things. For one, it means that these types of browsers are in their own, small niche and tend to compete with offerings from major corporations such as Google or Microsoft. Other than that, these types of browsers put the user first, not the profit of the company.
Privacy has become a serious consideration among internet users today, and for good reason. There is simply too much bad news out there about someone’s finances being stolen online, or users having their identities stolen. Furthermore, the fact that so much tracking and data collection occurs online is a cause for fear, concern, and ultimately distrust between hundreds of millions of internet users. For this very reason, so many have switched to other brands of browsers and, likewise, hundreds of millions of people now use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to anonymize their internet connection. One could say it is a form of paranoia amongst tech users, but, the risks and dangers have spiked in these past years so it is a good idea to improve your privacy and cybersecurity.
Now, anyone can go and download a privacy-focused browser and rid themselves of the typical ailing of a commercial browser (and you should!). There is a long list of tried-and-true privacy browsers such as;
- Tor Browser
- Brave Browser
- Mozilla Firefox
The list does not end there, as more and more specialist browsers crop up on the horizon. Now, there is one browser on the list that is completely different from the others in the list, and that is Tor (The onion router). This browser, unlike the others, completely obfuscates the internet connection by passing it through relays, and it can access the dark web. None of the other browsers on the list are anonymous, or private, in comparison. If you are after ultimate privacy but are willing to give up a bit of speed and smoothness, Tor’s (safer and safest) security modes will do the job. However, please take care of the dark web.
On the other hand, for the average user who does not access the dark web, a privacy-focused browser such as Brave, Mozilla, or Safari if you are on a Mac or iPhone will more than suffice. These browsers offer anti-tracking features, cookie-blocking features, and anti-fingerprinting features. Such features will ensure that your trail of digital breadcrumbs is as minimal as possible, and that online tracking and advertising mechanisms will not find it that comfortable to annoy you and slow down your machine (worse yet, infect it).