11 Apr 2021

Is it time to make the switch to private browsers?

From Sunday Morning, 7:45 am on 11 April 2021

This past week, the lead consumer technology writer from the New York Times urged readers to ditch Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge in favour of using private browsers such as Brave, due to privacy concerns.

Tech correspondent Helen Baxter explained to Jim Mora why the big player browser providers are increasingly coming under fire.

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Photo: AFP / FILE

Brave, she says, has privacy built in.

“It uses less energy, so it doesn’t use up my battery on my mobile phone, it uses less bandwidth, it’s three times faster than chrome .. they claim.

“It also has this Brave reward scheme built in where you can earn BATS tokens, basic attention tokens, for your attention. You earn them for looking at sites and then it’s a crypto currency where you can pay micropayments to content creators.”

Putting a search engine such as Brave or DuckDuckGo on your computer or phone is easy to do, she says.

“Most PCs come installed with Edge and most macs with Safari so you actually have to install Chrome, so the process is exactly the same and I also believe you can port over your history or any other information from Chrome.”

These search engines do not save your search history or track you, she says.

Google is the world’s biggest advertising company, she says

It’s an alternative search engine to Google that doesn’t track you doesn’t save your history and is anonymised.

With choosing convenience over security services that we use like mail and docs hold a lot of private information, but they are also an adverting company.

One of her favourite quotes is from Jeffrey A Fowler: ‘Having the world’s biggest advertising company making the world’s biggest web browser is like letting kids run a sweet shop.’”

You can rest assured, she says, that Google will be telling their advertisers about our online activity.

But is this loss of privacy trade worth it for the advantages it brings?

“Personally, I don’t think so, people seem to think it’s too much hassle, it’s too difficult just go with what they are already using but once you’ve switched it’s easy, your day-to-day experience is no different apart from the fact you are not seeing lots of adverts.”