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Privacy & Data

CDT Releases Update to Browser Privacy Report

Less than a year ago, CDT released the Browser Privacy Features report that compared the privacy tools in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari. The browser vendors have been busy since then, with this year seeing the release of Firefox 3.5, Safari 4, and Internet Explorer 8 (now out of beta). With the release of these new browser versions have come advances on privacy controls–for example, Firefox 3.5 has incorporated a Private Browsing mode. CDT is pleased to release the Browser Privacy Features report, version 2.0 in light of the changing landscape. In order to keep things interesting, we added another popular browser to the comparisons–Opera 10. Opera offers similar features to the other browsers when it comes to Cookie and Object Controls, however it has a different approach with respect to Privacy Mode. A Privacy Mode’s purpose is to allow users to browse without leaving data trails on their computers and is implemented by Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari. When the Privacy Mode is active, it cleans up data trails as the user browses. Opera does not have a explicit Privacy Mode, but provides granular control over nearly all elements that the other browsers address in their privacy modes. These controls are provided through menu options that can be used to clear private data. The other four browsers also provide similar functionality. As evidenced by the new features introduced in just the short time since our last report, the browser vendors are truly competing on the strength of their privacy controls. This is nothing but good news for consumers, who have more choices than ever when it comes to browsers and the privacy features that they offer.