How to reduce your Digital Footprint, part 1: Web Browsers and Extensions

There is no 100% anonymity on the internet.

Your Digital Footprint is everywhere on the web: it is in all the actions you do on keyboard and mouse, on every tap and swipe on our mobile phone.

All the tools on hand do not immediately make you anonymous, but your awareness did. We need to, at least, try our best, take back control of our data. Privacy is fundamental to the internet and net neutrality.

So, today I’d like to start this awareness series, talking about Web Browsers.


Firefox

Developed by Mozilla, Firefox has been improved for privacy protections in recent years: dev team have also introduced advanced anti-fingerprinting and Enhanced Tracking Protection features, both of which make it much more difficult for third-party trackers to follow you.

Firefox is available for Desktop, Android, and iOS.

Tor browser

Tor is the best option if privacy is your first concern. The Tor browser is based on Firefox, but it has been specially customized to run on the Tor network.

When you use Tor, your traffic is encrypted and bounced between other Tor nodes before it reaches your desired website. The encryption is handled in such a way that each node only has access to one set of instructions, so no one has access to both your IP address and the website you are visiting.

This setup makes it really complex to keep any records about your online activity, and every time you close your session, the browser deletes your cookie cache and browsing history. The browser itself is configured to prevent fingerprinting, and it blocks all kinds of trackers.

Tor browser app is available for Desktop and Android.

For iOS, you can use the Tor-approved open source app Onion browser: a good solution, but with some limitations.


Useful browser extensions

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin is a wide-spectrum blocker that is easy on memory, and yet can load and enforce thousands more filters than other popular blockers out there. It has no monetization strategy and is completely open source.

NoScript

NoScript (or NoScript Security Suite) is a free software extension for Mozilla Firefox, SeaMonkey, other Mozilla-based web browsers and Google Chrome that  blocks active web content, which can be wholly or partially unblocked by allowlisting a site or domain from the extension’s toolbar menu or by clicking a placeholder icon.

Decentraleyes

Decentraleyes emulates a Content Delivery Networks locally by intercepting requests, finding the required resource, and injecting it into the environment. This all happens instantaneously, automatically, and no prior configuration is required.

CanvasBlocker

CanvasBlocker allows users to prevent websites from using some Javascript APIs to fingerprint them. Users can choose to block the APIs entirely on some or all websites (which may break some websites) or just block or fake its fingerprinting-friendly readout API.

More info about browser fingerprinting here:

ClearURLs

ClearURLs will automatically remove tracking elements from URLs to help protect your privacy when browsing through the Internet.

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