Incognito/Private Browsing Really… Isn’t

Incognito/Private Browsing Really… Isn’t

Listening to: Teardrop Explodes – Like Leila Khaled Said

I’ve seen a few references to “private browsing” recently which leads me to believe many people simply do not know what enabling it actually does.

While the implementation differs between products, most seem to work in a similar fashion. They “suppress” the saving of cookies and other temp files between sessions. This means it is difficult to determine where a browser has been after it is closed. All temporary files are deleted. Downloaded files are normally kept.

This does not mean you are anonymous online.

It’s beyond the scope of this missive but know there are many methods to tracking a user across the internet. From “DNS lookups” to “profiling” and “zombie cookies”.

And many well funded organizations profit from this activity. From your local ISP to advertising behemoths like Google, Amazon and Meta. The adage “You are the product” isn’t far off the mark.

Just… don’t assume that if private or incognito browsing is enabled you’ll experience any semblance of privacy. It can, combined with other techniques, be used to give some degree of anonymity if your device is physically inspected.

Even using more advanced methods of obscuring one’s activity can be fraught. TOR relays and VPN’s are no guarantee your activity will not be discovered and tracked. Especially when using a web browser.

“Real Life” isn’t far off. Your car’s location can be tracked via it’s license plate, parking activity and any external connections like GPS. YOU can be tracked via facial recognition and the geolocation of your cel phone.

We live in a world formerly limited to dystopian science fiction. But that’s another rant entirely :-).