I often hear about the brand new Google Chrome web browser and the upcoming Microsoft (or is it Windows?) Internet Explorer 8 and how great they are. One of their most important new features is supposedly their privacy mode or how they call it.
Great, “Finally we can get some privacy on the net” I hear you saying! Well, maybe. But not with those tools I am afraid. The term “privacy mode” is a bit misleading in my opinion. Not false marketing, it’s just important to know what it has been designed for and what is beyond its scope.
The privacy modes offered by those, as well as the other web browsers on the market, are good for one thing only. When the privacy mode is enabled, no traces are left in the operating system registry, no cookies and history is stored on the local PC.
So when you want to hide the fact that you have just visited that ton of porn webs from your wife or kids, it will do the job. That’s what it has been designed for – of course not just for the porn webs but we know the truth, right? 😉
It can also mask the user-agent browser string pretending you are using a different web browser with a different preferred language. In my opinion, that’s just a feeble attempt at ensuring your anonymity.
So, is that real privacy?! It helps for sure. It’s great when you share your computer with someone else and I am not saying those are bad features. Far from that!
What I am afraid of, however, is that once those web browsers become widespread, many people, mostly those technically less savvy ones, will get that very dangerous false feeling of privacy and anonymity on the Internet.
They will think this way: “I just enable this great privacy mode and nobody will see what I am doing on the net, nobody will know where I am coming from, nobody will be able to steal my private data.”.
But this, my unknown Internet friend, this is not happening. You will need a bigger caliber for that. Much bigger!