Although almost all browsers collect user data, some of them are more active than others. IT expert Doug Leith from Irish Trinity College compared the privacy level of the world’s most popular Internet surfing apps and published the results in a rating format.
The comparative study involved Google Chrome browsers 80.0.3987.87, Mozilla Firefox 73.0, Brave 1.3.115, Safari 13.0.3, Microsoft Edge 80.0.361.48, and Yandex.Browser version 184.108.40.2065. While browsing the Internet, data was recorded about how much information about the user the application collects, and how then it manages this data.
Chrome, Firefox and Safari took the middle position in the ranking – they allow you to disable uncontrolled data collection and auto-complete search queries. However, Chrome still captures a unique user ID. Firefox also collects a number of data, and Safari’s default start page can share information with third parties that are able to load pages with identifiers into the browser’s cache. In the process of working with iCloud, identifier data is also collected. The Brave browser turned out to be the leader of the list, by default it does not collect identifiers that allow you to track IP addresses and does not send data about visited sites to the developer’s servers.
Developer representatives have already commented on the results of the study. So, one of the Microsoft employees on condition of anonymity noted that Edge is asking for permission to collect diagnostic information to improve the products, but their collection can still be turned off. Apple said the study “understands browser security too narrowly,” and Safari blocks third-party data collection through Intelligent Tracking Prevention and third-party cookies.
Mozilla said that Firefox only collects browsing history if the Sync function is enabled, which allows you to “share” data between several devices, and unlike other browsers, it uses end-to-end encryption and the company does not have access to information about web surfing. At the same time, Firefox does collect some “technical information” about user interaction with the Mozilla product, but it does not include the history of site visits, and the collected IP addresses and other identifiers are not used to analyze user activity.