Thursday , October 22 2020

How to use Chrome’s tools to protect your privacy while browsing

Google’s Chrome is, by most measures, the most popular browser in use. That being said, it also has a perception problem as far as security is concerned, causing privacy-concerned users to shake the Chrome habit. If you don’t have any intention of moving away from Chrome anytime soon, here are some tips to help you maximize your privacy.

Chrome has tools for blocking first-party cookies (which are used to store your preferences for a particular site) as well as third-party tracking cookies (which follow your online activity across sites). Some of these tools need to be enabled manually, and we’ve included instructions on how to do that, along with steps on how to delete cookies already stored by your browser. We also address how Google plans to prevent fingerprinting — a form of tracking that uses data about your system configuration to identify you.

There are also plenty of extensions available in the Chrome Web Store if you’d like to protect your privacy beyond Chrome’s built-in tools.

Version 79 of Chrome, which came out last December, concentrated mostly on enhancing password security. In Chrome 80, which began rolling out on February 4th, Google is gradually implementing a new system for sorting and blocking cookies. It will allow all first-party cookies, but third-party cookies will have to include a specific same-site setting that ensures they are being accessed from secure connections. (You can update to the Chrome 80 manually by going to Help -> About Google Chrome. However, be aware that this feature may take a while to be fully implemented.)

Google also says that Chrome will phase out third-party cookies in two years in favor of an alternative system to cookies using new technologies Google is developing.

Meanwhile, you can still manually block cookies in Chrome:

Once you’ve blocked third-party cookies in your settings, a cookie icon will pop up on the right side of your address bar when Chrome is blocking cookies. You can click on that icon to see what cookies are allowed and blocked by each site and choose to block or allow individual cookies. Here’s how:

Chrome does allow you to automatically clear out your cookies and other data when you exit the browser.

Want to see a list of all the cookies currently stored by your browser?

If you want to clear a range of your data from the browser:

Google has proposed a number of fingerprinting protections, which it says it plans to implement later this year. Among the proposed steps is a strategy, which involves restricting the number of requests that can be made for user information so as not to allow for the collection of enough data to identify individual users.

Chrome, by default, does filter out some ads using the rules set by the Coalition for Better Ads and EasyList, but you can always download ad-blocking extensions to increase your protection.

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