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Privacy

Revealed: See how much your browser tracks and sells your data

When it comes to choosing a browser, you have many options from some of the biggest names in tech as well as lesser-known companies. You can make your decision based on appearance, convenience features, compatibility, customization options and more.

Which browser is right for you? Tap or click here to check out a video from Kim comparing some of the most popular browsers out there.

Privacy should be among your chief concerns when you decide on a browser. It usually isn’t clear what data is collected and shared, but we’re here to help you make the right decision.

Google Chrome

Google is known for tracking everything you do. Google can track and store your location history, web and app activity, shopping habits and more. This invasion of privacy extends into Google’s Chrome browser. Tap or click here for five Google changes you should know about.

Think you’re safe in Incognito Mode? Google can still collect and sell your data.

While Google recently announced that it would ban cross-site cookie tracking, it implemented its own tracker called the Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC. This software runs in your browser’s background and groups you with people who it thinks share your interests. Visit amifloced.org to see if you’re part of the trial.

You may want to opt out of third-party cookies. In the upper right corner of Chrome, open the three-dot menu and click Settings. Under Privacy and security, select Cookies and other site data. Then check the box for Block third-party cookies.

Firefox

Firefox blocks trackers by default, including cross-site tracking and social media trackers, so you don’t have to change any settings. Global protection levels such as Strict or Standard let you set your level of protection. You can also go the custom route and specify which trackers and scripts Firefox should block.

To check out your privacy settings, click on the menu button (three lines) and go to Preferences > Privacy & Security. From here, you can set up your protection level.

Edge

Edge works much like Chrome now since it’s built on the Chromium foundation. Edge has more privacy settings than Chrome, however. Tracking Prevention is on by default. This tool identifies trackers and prevents them from seeing what you do.

Like Firefox, Edge has three levels of protection: Basic, Balanced and Strict. Click on the three-dot menu icon and select Settings. Then go to Privacy and services to tinker with your privacy settings. Tap or click here to learn about the limits of incognito browsing.

But beware. Edge was recently flagged for sending users’ IP addresses and location data to Microsoft servers.

Safari

Apple’s browser blocks cross-site trafficking by default. Safari uses Google as its default search browser, which blocks malicious websites and pop-ups as well as protection from malware and phishing scams.

If you use a Mac or iOS device and software such as iCloud, Safari is a solid choice. Your passwords and bookmarks, for example, will be synced across your devices. When it comes to compatibility and updates for the PC version of Safari, you have better choices out there.

Brave

Brave is designed for your privacy. The company’s servers don’t see or store your browsing data, so that stays private until you choose to delete it. Thus you don’t have to worry about your information being shared or sold.

Brave runs on Chromium, so it should be familiar to anyone who has used Chrome. Brave blocks malware, phishing scams, advertisements, trackers and plug-ins by default.

To adjust your privacy settings, open the three-line menu and go to Settings > Advanced > Privacy and Security.

Keeping all that junk off your device means faster service and reduced load times. Speaking of which, Brave has its own search engine in beta testing. You can check it out at brave.com/brave-search-beta. The company writes that the Brave Search “doesn’t track users, their searches, or their clicks.” It will be the default search engine for Brave, but you’ll be able to use it with other browsers.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser doesn’t collect your personal information to filter results and target you with ads. It automatically blocks third-party trackers and forces sites to use an encrypted HTTPS connection when available. You can get it for Android and iOS. Tap or click here for an in-depth look at DuckDuckGo.

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