When it comes to online privacy, your choice of browser may seem an insignificant. Cookies, trackers and browser fingerprinting are increasingly being used to track our online behavior. There is however the concept of Browser Isolation – a method to enhance your online privacy.
What is Browser Isolation
Browser isolation is a method that attempts to avoid the most insidious privacy threat: browser fingerprinting.
Unlike cookies, which can be detected and blocked, browser fingerprinting is an invisible tracking method. It identifies you by your unique browser settings and system configurations, creating a ‘fingerprint’ that can follow you around the internet.
With browser isolation multiple browsers are used for different purposes, each working in isolation from the other.
This approach can significantly hamper the capabilities of browser fingerprinting, as each browser is limited to collecting only a specific subset of your browsing data.
How Does Browser Isolation Work?
The key to browser isolation is understanding that your browser does not need to serve all purposes.
By splitting your online activities across different browsers, you can mitigate the impact one browser or platform’s potential data collection.
For example, using three browsers:
- A Google Browser: Like Google Chrome, that is used exclusively for Google-related activities. This can include using Google Search, checking your Gmail, or watching videos on YouTube. As this browser would only ever access Google’s properties, it limits the extent of the data Google can gather.
- A Non-Google Browser: Such as Mozilla Firefox, that is used for your other online activities. This could be anything from reading news articles, making purchases on e-commerce websites, or simply surfing the web. The essential rule here is to not log into any Google service on this browser, thus evading Google’s tracking mechanisms.
- A Facebook Browser: If you’re a Facebook user, this platform should also be isolated due to its extensive data collection practices. Use a separate browser, such as Brave, for Facebook and its services, including Instagram.
Regardless of the browsers you choose, the key is strict adherence to the isolation principle. Do not mix activities among these browsers.
Tips for Browser Isolation
Implementing browser isolation may seem daunting, but these tips will simplify the process:
- Enable the Favorites Bar: For each browser, turn on the favorites bar and bookmark the sites relevant to that browser’s purpose. This helps avoid confusion and maintains the separation of purposes.
- Avoid Browser Customisation: Browser customization can inadvertently make your browser fingerprint more unique. Stick with the default settings where possible.
- Consider VPN and Pi-Hole Usage: Using a VPN or Pi-Hole can provide an added layer of protection by masking your IP address and blocking unwanted ads and trackers.
Taking Back Your Privacy
The beauty of the Browser Isolation technique lies in its simplicity and effectiveness.
It offers a practical approach to reclaim our online privacy and significantly reduce the data footprint we leave behind.
Browser isolation won’t make you untraceable, but will significantly curtail the reach of invasive tracking practices.