Ways to keep your browsing data private

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In Spanish

Search engines, companies and advertisers monitor your online activities so that they can serve you targeted advertisements based on your interests.

It’s usually perfectly legal, but many people see this practice as an invasion of privacy. If you prefer to search the internet without leaving a trace, you have two main choices, one a bit more powerful than the other.

Weakest option: incognito mode

All mainstream browsers – including Apple’s Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox – have an “incognito” or “private browsing” mode. Search for the browser name and “private browsing setting” for registration instructions. They vary by browser.

Or open a new window and choose the private option in your smartphone browser for a one-time private browsing session. After you close your browser, your history, cookies, and website data are automatically deleted, which means the browser has no information for use by companies and advertisers.

What it doesn’t do: Prevent websites from monitoring what you do when you visit them. It also doesn’t prevent your Internet Service Provider (ISP) – or your employer, if it’s a work computer – from seeing all the sites you use.

Stronger option: private search engines

For more privacy, use a private search engine that will not monitor or log your searches or sell this information to third parties.

However, when you click on a link to visit a website, that particular site may track your activity while you are there. And your ISP and employer can track your activity.

Some popular options include Brave Search, DuckDuckGo, Peekier, Qwant, and Startpage, all of which are free. The main downside: These sites may not provide the variety of results that you would get from Google or Microsoft’s Bing. But you should still be able to find what you need.

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