While we’re busy talking about carbon footprint and how to save the planet, there’s also one thing more subtle that we should also take into account — our digital footprint.
We are tracked online on a daily basis. From our mouse clicks down to the websites we visit and the things we share, our data are used everyday as market insights by many different companies. If you notice how Facebook would usually advertise to you certain things that you literally were just searching on a few hours ago, this is because your digital movements are being tracked.
Considering these, I wondered if there is still some semblance of privacy in the internet. We could use the incognito mode in Google Chrome, for instance, but ultimately we’re still being tracked online. What could be some alternatives?
Presenting: Privacy-focused internet browsing. Here are a few platforms that I’ve been using that promote internet privacy, among other things. Try checking them out if you want to keep your digital footprint minimal as much as possible.
Brave: A privacy-focused browser
As a user, access to your web activity and data is sold to the highest bidder. Internet giants grow rich, while publishers go out of business. And the entire system is rife with ad fraud.Taken from http://www.brave.com.
For me, Brave is the best alternative out there for Google Chrome. Aside from promising a privacy-focused browsing experience, Brave also has a number of features, the main one of which is blocking ads and trackers from getting your personal data. On the home page, you can see the total number of ads and trackers you blocked — I actually treat this as a trophy sometimes. So far, my Brave Browser was able to block a whooping 440,000 ads! Sorry guys, you can’t sell me things I’m not really interested with.
Another important feature of Brave is the rewards feature. Here, you will earn Brave Attention Tokens for viewing privacy-respecting ads. These are ads that were carefully prepared by Brave such that they are not intrusive and actually look like they’re a regular part of the web page.
If you’re looking for an alternative browser, Brave is the way to go.
DuckDuckGo: The search engine that doesn’t track you
I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for over a year now. What I like about this search engine is that unlike Google’s search engine, DuckDuckGo provides you internet search results that you more likely need. When you search through Google, you’d usually be bombarded with a series of ads on the top results that you wouldn’t normally need. In DuckDuckGo, however, the searches are more refined based on the actual keywords that you placed in the search bar. Meaning, the search results you’re going to get are filtered from ads and aren’t a marketing strategy to draw you in.
As of February 2019, DuckDuckGo’s monthly searches have already reached one billion. You can learn more about them here.
Tor: Browse privately and explore freely
Another alternative to Google Chrome is the Tor browser. Tor blocks trackers and ads, defends you against surveillance, resists being digitally fingerprinted, provides multi-layered encription, and allows you to access websites that your home or country networks may have blocked.
For me, instead of subscribing with a VPN, you can just browse through Tor. It’s completely free.
We believe everyone should be able to explore the internet with privacy. We are the Tor Project, a 501(c)3 US nonprofit. We advance human rights and defend your privacy online through free software and open networks.From torproject.org
And there you have it. These are the three main internet privacy browsers and search engines that I use. So far, I would say the experience has been exemplary, and I am all the more less distracted from unnecessary ads. While there are the exception of apps like YouTube and LinkedIn with tons of ads and trackers, I think it’s nice to have a right balance by also using privacy-focused apps.
Internet privacy-focused apps are also especially useful for people who are working in or are involved with very sensitive environments or contexts. Some of these apps are being used for such things. So while those people find use in the apps as a security protocol, for us people, not getting tracked by ads and trackers is the way to go.
Let’s take the conversation forward. Find out how we can collaborate for a sustainable future: https://berdeboy.blog/collaborate/