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Be brave, stay secure.

Is your browser tracking you? Brave and Mozilla Firefox offer privacy solutions

Sarah Schlothauer
brave
© Shutterstock / tenki

What browser do you use? Depending on your browser choice, websites may be tracking you wherever you go online. Popular websites can include up to 24 pieces of tracking content from companies such as Facebook and Google. In the fight for Internet security, both Brave and Mozilla Firefox offer free to use solutions. We go over some of the benefits of both browsers.

Gone are the days of making jokes about Internet Explorer. The recent browser war is primarily dominated by Google Chrome. According to statcounter, Google Chrome accounts for a worldwide market share of 64.92%.

However, despite Chrome’s widespread usage, other browsers are more focused on digital privacy.

In the battle of the browsers, what do people care about the most? A 2019 survey by Brave Software revealed that users have become more aware of data tracking and online privacy, and are looking for a browser to reflect this. Brave Software states: “82 percent of users wish the Web were more privacy-oriented and 79 percent of users worry about their privacy on the Web at least occasionally.”

Luckily, there are options available. Let’s take a look at Brave and Firefox, two browsers that aim to do better than Chrome in the privacy department.

Brave 1.0

Brave is built on top of Chromium, which is the engine behind Google Chrome. So, it includes all the benefits like high-speed web page loading and Chrome users can migrate their bookmarks and use Chrome extensions.

According to Brave, popular websites can contain up to 70 trackers. For instance, a quick trip to Buzzfeed to laugh at the latest cat gifs can result in ten cross-site trackers.

The browser celebrated its big 1.0 stable release on November 13, 2019. Check out all the v1.0.0 release notes.

View the browser, core engine, and ad blocker on GitHub. The browser is written in JavaScript, while the core engine is in C++. The ad blocker is a native node module and C++ library for Adblock Plus.

SEE ALSO: The need for Layer 8: Why the OSI model isn’t enough for application security

In the creator’s words

Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript, co-founder of Mozilla, and CEO of Brave Software answered the community’s questions on Reddit on November 14, 2019. He revealed some facts about the Brave browser and data privacy.

A few noteworthy quotes from the AMA regarding Brave and data privacy:

  • Here’s the trick: we don’t *collect* user browsing data in the clear at all. Even if you enable Sync, the data is encrypted with a key only you have. This means we can’t see your data. Our opt-in Brave Rewards system uses blind-signature cryptography to avoid us seeing your ad or contribution events or linking them together to make a fingerprint.
  • Brave is like Chrome but blocks all the trackers and surveillance that Google requires for its business and therefore puts into Chrome. So we are much faster, better on battery and dataplan, and private by default. We then help you opt into Brave Rewards for a simple loyalty-points-like system that pays you for private ads and helps you give back to your favorite sites, YouTubers, etc.

SEE ALSO: Are there any real security threats to sensor-generated data?

Mozilla Firefox focuses on privacy

Mozilla Firefox has kept up a solid fight for a more transparent web experience without tracking or malicious scripts.

Digital marketing consultant Marko Saric explores how Firefox handles profiling and its tracking protection in his article “Give FireFox a Chance for a Faster, Calmer and Distraction-Free Internet“. In only one week of web browsing, Firefox blocked a total of 1,907 trackers.

Where are these trackers coming from? According to Saric:

On a typical Wired.com article, Firefox blocks four social media trackers from Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

In addition, it also blocks 24 pieces of tracking content from companies such as Hotjar and Amazon.

And last but not least, it blocks eight third-party cookies from companies such as Google and Snapchat.

Mozilla has also developed Firefox Send, a private file-sharing system with end-to-end encryption and an automatically expiring link.

The Mozilla Foundation is a global non-profit organization that supports public resources, the Mozilla project, and has a heavy focus on data privacy, open source, and tech accessibility. Read their 2019 Internet Health Report for more information about the need for decentralization and Internet privacy.

Author
Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is an assistant editor for JAXenter.com. She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University and is currently enrolled at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany where she is working on her Masters. She lives in Frankfurt with her husband and cat. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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