Thursday, March 17, 2011

Defaulting to private browsing mode

It's common lore that the private browsing modes are there so that people surfing for Internet pornography can hide their tracks from others with whom they share a machine. But I've recently switched to using private browsing mode all the time.

And now I wish browsers allowed me to configure them to, by default, always operate in private browsing mode. I'd like to flip the logic and have an explicit public browsing mode when I want the browser to remember where I've been and what I've entered.

In private browsing mode the browser:

1. Forgets the history once I close it. Handy since I rarely need to review my history and no one needs to know that I spend my time browsing web sites about this.

2. Deletes any cookies. So, this helps to foil tracking by advertising companies and since I never use those 'remember me' options on web sites I don't need cookies to hang around between sessions.

3. Forgets about anything I enter into forms. This seems like a sensible security measure. Really no reason for the browser to be remembering my address, or credit card number or other sensitive data.

4. Forgets any passwords. I have a whole scheme for dealing with passwords and use two-factor authentication when it's available. No need for the browser to be storing them.

So, which browser is going to be the first to offer a by default incognito mode?


If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.


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