Alternatives to Corporate Internet Browsers

Alternative open-source internet browsers

Did you ever noticed that "suddenly", when browsing the internet, advertising becomes surprisingly familiar with the last search or purchase you've made in online shopping?

This happens because a number of features or background services on "mainstream browsers" communicate with corporate servers, despite the absence of an associated account to those services.
This gathering, storage and analysis (search for "analytics") on user's online footprint data has become advertising industry's main alternative of incomme nowadays.
Basically they trade your privacy data, your online footprint and sell services based on that data. This way, they can sell/display relevant advertising content, targeted directly at their core customers, while at the same time minimizing advertising costs.
This is called target advertising.

But how do we escape this, or at least, minimize our so called Digital Footprint?

You can customize your usual browser, by disabling default settings related to privacy and security. But this doesn't completely solve the problem.

There are a few alternatives to corporate internet browsers like Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari that most people know and use.

As you know, there's no one thing that only happens to one person. And as such, a few people have tried to solve this dilemma by creating their own alternative browser.

These browsers all have a small list of goals in common:
- Add, modify, or disable features that inhibit control and transparency ; - Disable or remove offending services and features that communicate with corporate servers or weaken our privacy; - Minimize your digital footprint or at least make your data anonymous so that offending services cannot track you.

Brave

Brave Browser

Enter Brave new browser!
Brave automatically blocks ads and trackers, making it faster and safer than your current browser.
Besides this, it also aims to transform the online ad ecosystem with micro payments and a new revenue-sharing solution to give users and publishers an alternative revenue system to the old advertising scheme.

More info here.

Ungoogled Chromium

According to Ungoogled Chromium community:
"A number of features or background services communicate with Google servers despite the absence of an associated Google account or compiled-in Google API keys. Furthermore, the normal build process for Chromium involves running Google's own high-level commands that invoke many scripts and utilities, some of which download and use pre-built binaries provided by Google. Even the final build output includes some pre-built binaries. Fortunately, the source code is available for everything."

Ungoogled Chromium accomplish the following:

  • Disable or remove offending services and features that communicate with Google or weaken privacy
  • Strip binaries from the source tree, and use those provided by the system or build them from source
  • Add, modify, or disable features that inhibit control and transparency (these changes are minor and do not have significant impacts on the general user experience)

Warning: Ungoogled Chrome is not updated automatically and, as such, it is not advisable to be used for most end users.

Iridium Browser

As with Ungoogle Chromium project, Iridium Browser is also based the Chromium code base.
The only but main difference between Iridium and Ungoogled Chrome, is that The Iridium Browser project is backed by the Open Source Business Alliance and it's a very polished and finished product, where Ungoogled Chrome is not.

According to The Iridium Browser project:
"All modifications enhance the privacy of the user and make sure that the latest and best secure technologies are used. Automatic transmission of partial queries, keywords, metrics to central services is prevented and only occurs with the approval of the user. In addition, all our builds are reproducible and modifications are auditable, setting the project ahead of other secure browser providers."

More info here.

Tor Browser

And of course, last but not least, TOR Browser. The ultimate browser for safely navigate the internet in completely anonymity.

"Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security."

More info here.