The privacy on android It has always been a controversial topic. Apart from the doubts that the omnipresent Chrome always generates, we have an operating system strongly tied to the ecosystem of the search giant, and we all know that one of Google’s main sources of income is advertising, which is more effective if it is capable of adapt to the trends and tastes of the user.
On the other hand we have the situation of the Internet that we know, which was designed primarily to facilitate the transmission of data and information. This means that, for practical purposes, the only way to have 100% real privacy is not being on the Internet, but that does not legitimize certain practices, especially by some giants, who even break the will of users in the aspects that they can control (or at least they should be able to control).
In previous occasions we mentioned how to enable Do Not Track and some of the most competent VPNs to have at least some privacy on Android, so this time we are going to focus on web browserswhich together with messaging applications, social networks and YouTube are the most used to access the content available through the Internet.
If you are looking for a web browser that respects your privacy, here we are going to mention five options that you should take into account, especially those that are published as open source, since they offer more transparency than those that are proprietary software.
We start with the most used example in these topics: Tor Browser. This browser is an old acquaintance for those looking to anonymize their traffic and avoid being tracked. Obviously, like the versions aimed at the desktop, its development is carried out by the Tor project. It is based on Firefox for Android and is open source.
As soon as you start it, the application asks for the level of security that the user wants to have, which can be standard, more secure and “the most secure of all”. The more security is reinforced, the more elements of the web pages are likely to be blocked, but this can lead to the breakage of the pages themselves and therefore it is not possible to navigate through them depending on the website that is accessed.
Apart from giving easy access to the Tor network, the browser is responsible for blocking the possibility of taking screenshots, although that does not prevent taking a photo from another device. HTTPS Everywhere and NoScript are pre-installed as plugins.
Tor Browser has proven its worth not only to anonymize traffic, but also to bypass the filters that one can find on many sites that prevent access to certain types of content.
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser It was at the time one of the first signs of diversification of the company behind the search engine. Continuing with tradition, it is a web browser aimed at offering privacy and that is supported by the WebView engine present in Android itself, so it draws on Chromium technologies for rendering tasks.
It is important to note that, unlike Tor Browser, DuckDuckGo’s browser for Android does not anonymize traffic or offer access to a network with similar characteristics, so it is limited to block trackers that one may encounter when browsing the web. These types of solutions can come in handy for those who do not have knowledge and seek to have at least some privacy. And of course, DuckDuckGo is the default search engine, which plays at home for a reason.
It is easy for the user to disable tracking blocking on any site they like and want to help with the display of advertising. From the configuration it is possible to easily access the white list.
An interesting feature is the flame that you see to the right of the address bar, which allows you to clear your open tabs and browsing data with a single touch, which reinforces the intentions of the application to offer privacy in an easy way. In addition, it is free software, with its code published under the Apache 2 license.
InBrowser – Incognito Browser
InBrowser – Incognito Browser is another old acquaintance among web browsers for Android aimed at offering privacy. Its main characteristics are that it does not save cookies or browsing history, the provision of connection to the Tor network through a built-in Orbot implementation, its built-in video player, and integration with the LastPass password managerwhich has been somewhat questioned for a long time.
Brave optionally offers the possibility of earning money by viewing advertising on websites. For this, he uses his own cryptocurrency, which for now has a fairly low value, so at most it is enough to pay for the occasional coffee throughout the year.
Apart from its peculiar proposal, which invites the user to see advertising, Brave has its own videoconferencing services, VPN and a search engine that respects the user’s privacy. It also offers synchronization between desktop (Windows, Linux and macOS) and mobile devices, which may not be to your liking for those who are most suspicious of their privacy, but it makes life easier for many users.
And of course, in an entry with these characteristics, a Mozilla product could not be missing. firefox focuscompared to the standard product, it stands out for offering quite strong protection by default when Automatically block a large number of trackers. In addition, it allows you to easily delete history, passwords and cookies to minimize things like targeted advertising as much as possible. Mozilla emphasizes that this browser takes privacy to the next level because the option to “private browsing of most browsers is incomplete and difficult to use”.
In short, Firefox Focus plays in the same league as DuckDuckGo and Brave in trying to offer strong tracker blocking by default, thus providing easy privacy for less knowledgeable users. After breaking stone so many times with the same thing, it is worth mentioning that blocking trackers contributes to faster browsing as less data is loaded, which can come in handy on smartphones that have a fair amount of power.
Alternative: use the browser of your choice with Orbot Proxy with Tor
Don’t like any of the options mentioned here? An alternative is to install Orbot Proxy with Tora proxy that allows you to indicate which applications pass their traffic through the Tor network and has a VPN mode to hide the user’s location.
Of course, it is important to bear in mind that Orbot Proxy with Tor does not transform the browser into a private browsing one, so the history and cookies that accumulate during browsing will remain stored unless the user has started private browsing of the browser. own web browser or delete them later, preferably before cutting the connection through Orbot.
The growing concern about privacy has made many of the products that stand out in this regard quite mainstream, especially if we take into account that brands like DuckDuckGo and Firefox are known by most of the general public.
Here we have limited ourselves to mentioning some of the most popular options that are well supported by their developers, but surely there are many more that are at least as competent, and not only in the Play Store, but also in other repositories such as F-Droid.