demko.ca

<< Back to Posts

Privacy and Dual Browsers

Aleksander Demko, 2012

Google, Facebook and who knows what other ad-driven Internet sites are by design, attempting to track you in all kinds of pervasive ways in order to show you ads. This is their nature, it's their business, and I'm going to outline a simple technique that will reduce some of your exposure.

Google and Facebook have extensive tracking networks. When you login to their services, they can tie all kinds of off-site browser activities to your ID. When you hit one of their associates' web site, that is anyone who hosts their ads, uses their tracking software, hosts "like" buttons, etc, that information goes back to Google/Facebook. Although their privacy policies may claim they don't do anything nefarious with your information, you should still limit how much information you give them.

You can do this by simply running two browsers. I chose Google Chrome and Firefox, but any two will do.

In one browser (Google Chrome in my case), I do only the following activities:

In my other browser, I do:

This way, all the tracking cookies installed by Google, Facebook, Linkedin are contained in one browser. But those don't go anywhere, since I don't do any general browsing in this browser. The second web browser does all browsing, without ever releasing any identity information (which it can't, because it's not logged in anywhere).

Some things to note:

There are some drawbacks - for example both browsers are still from the same IP address. However, I view this as trivial issue, and will spare you the details on why I think so.

Update

Although I've ran with the above configuration for about a year or two, I've recently started experiment with other browser pairs, such as: