Private browsing, privacy mode, or incognito mode are offered by web browsers to disable browsing history and web cache. While this feature is certainly helpful in some ways, it’s also sometimes misleading. Let’s break down how private browsing works.
Here’s what using private browsing accomplishes:
- Browsing history isn’t saved
- Cookies and site data aren’t saved
- Information entered in forms isn’t saved
When you use private browsing, the sites you visit will not be stored in your browsing history or cookies. Any forms you fill out while surfing won’t retain data either. Your browser essentially won’t remember any of your activity.
Here’s what using private browsing doesn’t accomplish:
- The websites you visit can still see your browsing activity
- If you’re using Wi-Fi at work or school, either institution may be able to see your browsing activity
- Your internet service provider may also see your browsing activity
If you use private browsing at work, it’s not as if your boss gets an email alerting them to your activity. But if your boss became suspicious about your browsing activity, they could look into it. And just because the sites you visit and your internet provider might see your activity, doesn’t mean they’re keeping records. If for some reason they wanted to monitor you, theoretically they could.
Private web browsers are still a fantastic tool at the end of the day if you’re looking to limit the amount of personal information that your browser holds.
5 Great Uses for Private Browsing:
- Conducting research: When you don’t want to be judged for your random or weird Google searches, use private browsing.
- Using someone else’s computer: Pop open a private window when using someone else’s computer to protect your passwords or other important user information.
- Shopping for gifts or one-time purchases: To avoid receiving ads for baby products after shopping for a friend’s baby shower, use a private window.
- Booking travel plans: Some travel sites raise fares if you look at the same flight more than once. If you’re a budget traveler, use a private browser to get the best prices out there.
- Signing into two email accounts: If you want to easily switch between email accounts within one browser, you can sign in using a private window.
One new project in the safe browser realm bears mentioning, which is the Brave Browser.
Created by Brendan Eich, of the Mozilla Foundation, Brave is one of the first browsers to include built-in advertising and tracking blockers. It also comes with its own crypto token, called BAT (or Basic Attention Token), allowing users to reimburse the sites and creators they like.
BIGinsight brings you tips on data privacy and how to best manage your data everywhere. Get ready to claim your data.