In this series of entries (at least I hope it will turn into a series) on how to get as much privacy on the internet as possible, we’ll start with your core tool: The web browser.
Both the operating system you are using and your hardware is further down the stack and could also bleed information about you like a ruptured artery, but we’ll focus on what you can easily replace. Moving to a totally new operating system can be a lot of hassle for most people, and very few of us are capable of building our own hardware - but the web browser should be replaceable without too much effort.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has set up a site, PRIM Break (you really didn’t think I’d come up with this wonderful pun myself, did you?), where they list a lot of software alternatives with better privacy compared to the software people would normally use.
Their web browser suggestion is Firefox.
My current browser is Chrome, which is developed by Google. Before that, I used Opera exclusively. Both are great browser, but they suffer from the same problem: They are proprietary, closed source browsers. The rendering engine they use is open source - as of Opera 15 both browsers use the same rendering engine - but the rest of the browser code is not available for public review, so there is no way of knowing how your private data is handled by Chrome and Opera.
Firefox, on the other hand, is open source. It’s also the browser of choice for the Tor Project. Tor is described as “free software for enabling online anonymity”, and because of this it attracts both shady figures who dabble in illegal activities and people who need to stay anonymous on the internet for political reasons. It’s fairly safe to assume that people who rely on anonymity to stay out of jail have had a look at the Firefox code and can vouch for Firefox' ability to keep your secrets relatively safe.
Firefox is also available on Android, and although the first versions of Firefox for Android was kind of sluggish, the current version is absolutely fantastic. One of the greatest features is that it can use many of the same add-ons as the desktop browser, for instance AdBlock, and that it syncs in mostly the same way as the desktop version.
The way I see it, it’s really no reason not to make the move to Firefox - both on desktop and mobile - even if privacy on the internet is not something that concerns you.
- Wikipedia: Tor (anonymity network).
vegard at vegard dot netwith your input. You can also use any of the other points of contact listed on the About page.
I don’t know if my add-ons work or not but when I see websites use more trustworthy companies, I tend to trust them more and then in return share my information.
Also I was wondering does your website respect "No Tracking" request from Firefox? I believe some websites are ignoring this request.
As far as I can tell, there really isn’t any good alternatives for a tiny site like this one when it comes to advertising, especially when I want the ads served over HTTPS, so Adsense is probably here to stay. It’s pretty easy to disable it with plugins like Adblock, though, so I’m not sure how much of a problem it is for people who don’t want to be tracked. AddThis is also scheduled to be replaced, but I’m not sure exactly when. The plan is to just create buttons that will enable sharing to the most popular social networks.
At the moment, I’m not doing anything in particular to respect the Do Not Track HTTP header, but there really isn’t anything on this site except for third party services that tracks you.