Brave, the privacy-focused web browser, has introduced private-browsing tabs that use Tor, the encrypted web-browsing technology, to provide genuinely private browsing.
Mainstream browsers all offer private browsing tabs and sessions, but the privacy aspect rarely goes much beyond wiping cookies on exit. Using ‘browser fingerprinting' - the information that browsers transmit to websites when they connect - websites can normally accurately identify a user with or without cookies.
In addition to providing an encrypted tunnel between browser and web site, Tor also minimises the amount of information it transmits, reducing the scope for browser fingerprinting.
The new feature, introduced in beta, "integrates Tor into the browser and gives users a new browsing mode that helps protect their privacy not only on device but over the network", the company claimed.
The feature should help protect users against snooping by their internet service provider (ISP), WiFi providers and visited sites tracking via IP address and browser fingerprinting.
The integration with Tor should make using the encrypted browsing technology easier and quicker to use. Tor typically uses the Firefox web browser for access.
The default search engine, meanwhile, is DuckDuckGo rather than Google as DuckDuckGo doesn't collect users' personal information. Google "challenges anonymous users to prove they are human and makes their search less seamless", Brave suggested.
In addition to Private Tabs with Tor, Brave 0.23 features an updated icon set, refinements to the primary toolbar styling and dimensions, adjustments for tab previews, and usability improvements in the title-mode feature of the URL bar, the company claimed.
While deprecating Google's surveillance of users, Brave 0.23 also includes improved compatibility with the company's suite of office productivity tools, which should now work better with Brave's default Shield settings.
Browser fingerprinting works by recording the various details that web browsers provide to websites. These include the browser itself, HTTP headers, the time zone the user is located in, their screen size and so on. According to the privacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), users have just a 1-in-286,777 chance of sharing the exact same fingerprint as anyone else.
In addition, the ‘Canvas' tool in HTML 5 can also be used to fingerprint users.
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