In a study of major web browsers, Microsoft’s Edge was found to have the worst default privacy settings of the entire bunch.
Douglas J. Leith, computer scientist with the School of Computer Science & Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, conducted the research on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Brave Browser, Microsoft Edge and Yandex Browser. The study evaluated a number of different factors, including the data transmitted by search autocomplete features, data transmitted while the browsers are idle, back-end services the browsers use and more.
Brave took the top spot, with not evidence of “identifiers allowing tracking of IP address over time, and no sharing of the details of web pages visited with backend servers,” according to Leith. Chrome, Firefox and Safari were in the middle of the pack.
“From a privacy perspective Microsoft Edge and Yandex are qualitatively different from the other browsers studied,” continued Leith. “Both send persistent identifiers than can be used to link requests (and associated IP address/location) to back end servers. Edge also sends the hardware UUID of the device to Microsoft and Yandex similarly transmits a hashed hardware identifier to back end servers. As far as we can tell this behaviour cannot be disabled by users. In addition to the search autocomplete functionality that shares details of web pages visited, both transmit web page information to servers that appear unrelated to search autocomplete.”