Big tech giants and online advertising companies use a ton of tools to track you around the web. These include cookies, device logging, fingerprinting, and even share buttons. One of the most common ways people think they can hide their activity is incognito mode. This opens a browsing window where cookies are blocked and browsing history is paused.
The problem with incognito mode is it provides a false sense of security. It is primarily built to block traces of your online activity being left on your computer, and NOT the web.
No matter if you are using incognito or even a VPN, Google, Facebook, and Amazon can see exactly what you are doing if you are logged into any of these sites.
You can also use browser extensions to block scripts and cookies being sent to tech companies. The problem is that many websites rely on these exact scripts and cookies to function correctly. If you want to log into a bank or social media site, guess what? You need to allow scripts and cookies.
1. What is the Solution?
Browser compartmentalization is the best solution. Here is how it works.
Use browser number 1 for all websites they need to log into. This browser is the one you will access your social media, banks, and shopping. You will never use this browser to “search the web.”
Use browser number 2 for all their web searching and random browsing. You will never log into any website — ever — with this browser.
By splitting up your web activity between two browsers, you will obtain privacy without sacrificing convenience. That is because the majority of your web usage will be done on your second browser. It will make it extremely hard for data firms to identify you and track activities. You can go 100% on your privacy settings in your second browser.
2. Why Does This Work?
Browser compartmentalization works because web browsers are walled gardens. They do not share cookies between them. When Facebook places a cookie tracker on your browser, this cookie is only accessible through that browser, and not any other browser on your computer.
3. Which Browsers Should You Use?
You want to decide which browser you will use as your first / accounts browser and which one as your second / search browser.
If it is made by Google, avoid it. Chrome’s sole aim is to know everything you do online.
4. Set Up Your Browser Number 2
(1) Set your privacy and security settings to strict in your browser preferences.
(2) Always set browsing to private / incognito mode.
(3) Download the following extensions: uBlock Origin, HTTPS Everywhere, and Cookie Auto Delete.
uBlock Origin: This extension will block the most intrusive add trackers and malware.
HTTPS Everywhere: The extension is made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It forces your browser to request and use the encrypted version of websites.
Cookie AutoDelete extension: Will automatically delete cookies that are downloaded during a browsing session. This ensures no cookies from the last session remain, which makes it impossible for sites to track you between browsing sessions.
Remember that browser compartmentalization is not a perfect privacy method. However, you will make it much harder for data brokers to track you around the web.