According to StatCounter, 70% of all desktop users worldwide use Google Chrome as their default Internet browser. A sad fact, as Chrome is a proprietary web browser that does not respect the user privacy by default. Chromium however, is %100 open source and licensed under the BSD license. Chrome extensions do work on Chromium.
Still, we do not recommend any user who cares about his/her privacy to use Google Chrome or Chromium, as both browsers are full of Google’s integrated services which phonehome some of your data, besides their horrible default settings for privacy which block nothing by default. Instead, we recommenced using Firefox, but if you still want a Chromium-based browser to use (Whether for performance or because of the huge number of extensions… etc), then what we recommend is the Ungoogled-Chromium browser instead.
However, what can’t be completely reached shouldn’t be completely left; Here’s a list of 7 privacy-preserving extensions to have if you are still going to use Chrome/Chromium browsers anyway. Or maybe you can even use them with the Ungoogled-Chromium browser, which is a better choice.
Privacy-Preserving Extensions for Chrome/Chromium
- uBlock Origin: The best and most lightweight extension for blocking ads on the web. It is important that you keep it on so that your browser can keep the ads that track you across the web. You may wish later to disable it on the websites you want to support, though, like ours! 😉
- Privacy Badger: An extension from EFF to block tracking scripts and 3rd-party cookies tracking. Websites you visit may keep some cookies stored on your browser, and other 3rd-party websites may try access them, so Privacy Badger comes to the rescue to prevent this from happening. Additionally, it blocks most, if not all, tracking scripts in most websites.
- HTTPS Everywhere: Good extension to redirect all the non-HTTPS traffic to HTTPS, wherever possible. Also developed by the EFF.
- Cookies AutoDelete: An absolute must-have. The way it works is that it removes all the cookies associated with a tab once you close it. So in this way, other websites won’t be able to track you with cookies at all (Unless they are opened in the same time). It may be hard to develop the habit of closing the tabs you don’t need once you finish using them, and it may be hard to re-login every time you close the tab, but the extra privacy is quite huge from following this approach. However, keep in mind to enable the “Active Mode” in the settings of this extension and set it it 1 seconds, and also to disable notifications to avoid annoying you:
- MinerBlock: Sadly Chrome/Chromium/Ungoogled-Chromium do not block miner scripts by default. Miner scripts are huge resource-hungry scripts that work on your browser through the websites you visit to mine cryptocurrencies for them, and some website owners use this approach to fund their selves instead of relying on ads. This extension blocks them.
- ScriptSafe: This extension a life-savior for privacy on Chromium-based browsers. It blocks a huge deal of privacy-hijacking techniques such as fingerprinting, WebRTC leaks, user-agent tracking, referral tracking and much much more. However, it uses a strict mode by default which causes most websites to break, so you have to go to the extension’s settings and change the “Default Mode” from Block to Allow:
After that, you may consider enabling / disabling the other privacy and fingerprinting-protection settings however you wish:
- Remove Google Redirection: If you are planning to use Google as your search engine, then this extenion helps you by removing the Google’s tracking layer put on the search results you see. In this way, search results will point to the original websites’ URLs instead of the Google’s tracking links.
So you should be good to go now with these extensions. It is true that none of the Chromium-based browsers have any significant default settings to preserve privacy by default, but loaded with these extensions, you’ll be perfectly fine to browse freely on the Internet.
On the other hand, we still recommend using Firefox with the other privacy-preserving addons for it. It is a better choice on the long run and supporting Firefox – even by just using it – will help create a better web for all of us. So if you really care for that future, you may consider the switch.
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What about DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials? It sort of combines Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere and works very well.