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If you care about privacy, Browser settings to change ASAP: Chrome, Firefox and more

c|net | Rae Hodge | Aug 28, 2021

Google and apple - If you care about privacy, Browser settings to change ASAP: Chrome, Firefox and more

James Martin/CNET

Five minutes gives you better internet privacy. Make these browser adjustments now.

Privacy is now a priority among browser-makers, but they may not go as far as you want in fighting pervasive ad industry trackers on the web. Here's a look at how you can crank up your privacy settings to outsmart that online tracking.

Problems like Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal have elevated privacy protection on Silicon Valley's priority list by showing how companies compile reams of data as you traverse the internet. Their goal? To build a richly detailed user profile so that you can become the target of more accurate, clickable and thus profitable advertisements.

Apple and Google are in a war for the web, with Google pushing aggressively for an interactive web to rival native apps and Apple moving more slowly -- in part out of concern those new features will worsen security and be annoying for users. Privacy adds another dimension to the competition and to your browser decision.

 

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Apple has made privacy a top priority in all its products, including Safari. For startup Brave, privacy is a core goal, and Mozilla and Microsoft have begun touting privacy as a way to differentiate their browsers from Google Chrome. It's later to the game, but Chrome engineers have begun building a "privacy sandbox" despite Google's reliance on ad revenue.

For all of the browsers listed here, you can give yourself a privacy boost by changing the default search engine. For instance, try DuckDuckGo. Although its search results may not be as useful or deep as Google's, DuckDuckGo is a longtime favorite among the privacy-minded for its refusal to track user searches.

Other universal options that boost privacy include disabling your browser's location tracking and search engine autocomplete features, turning off password autofills, and regularly deleting your browsing history. If you want to take your privacy to the next level, consider trying one of the virtual private networks CNET has reviewed that work with all browsers.

Chrome browser privacy settings to change

In the Chrome Web Store, click Extensions on the left and type the name of the extension you're looking for into the search bar. Once you find the correct extension in the search results, click Add to Chrome. A dialog will pop up explaining which permissions the extension will have for your browser. Click Add extension to bring the extension into your browser.

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If you change your mind, you can manage or remove your extensions by opening Chrome and clicking the three dot More menu on the right. Then select More Tools and then Extensions. From here, you'll also be able to see more about the extension by clicking Details.

Firefox browser privacy settings to change

Firefox's default privacy settings are more protective than those of Chrome and Edge, and the browser has more privacy options under the hood, too.

From inside Firefox's main menu -- or from inside the three lined menu on the right side of the toolbar -- select Preferences. Once the Preferences window opens, click Privacy & Security. From here, you'll be able to choose between three options: Standard, Strict and Custom. Standard, the default Firefox setting, blocks trackers in private windows, third party tracking cookies and cryptominers. The Strict setting may break a few websites, but it blocks everything blocked in Standard mode, plus fingerprints and trackers in all windows. Custom is worth exploring for those who want to fine tune how trackers are being blocked.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - If you care about privacy, Browser settings to change ASAP: Chrome, Firefox and more The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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