Firefox and Brave Web Browsers

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Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Does anyone have any opinions on the popular web browsers Firefox and Brave? I have recently become fairly privacy-minded. Both browsers have their benefits. They are both privacy-oriented, free, and open-source. Brave seems generally to function better (i.e., it breaks fewer websites), but I've heard over and over and hardened Firefox, which does break many sites, is the best in terms of privacy. I have also heard from some that Brave is shady in its business model (let the reader understand). However, I also know that Firefox is operated by a bunch of freedom-hating leftists who attempt to capitalize on liberal propaganda. Brave was also started by Firefox co-founder Brendan Eich, who was ousted from the foundation because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.

So, I'm torn. Anybody else given any thought to this?
 

aaronsk

Puritan Board Freshman
I mostly use Firefox but I should take a second look at Brave. Last time I tried it was a couple years ago. Firefox certainly has some major ideological issues but I like the browser haha. If I need to use chrome I usually use the chromium variant to keep google's prying eyes away.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I use Brave. I tried hardened Firefox for a while. I'm pretty technically savvy but the sacrifice of convenience got to me.

I've read all the criticisms of Brave and so far they all seem unfounded, mostly claims made by nerds on "Team Firefox". So with that in mind, I just went with Brave for ease of use and haven't looked back. Good experience.

More important than browser is search engine, in my opinion. I've not tried Brave Search but I never really liked DuckDuckGo. I added StartPage as my default Brave search engine. It uses Google Search but scrubs it so the search isn't tied to you (kind of the best of both worlds, if you ask me).

privacytools.io is a great site if you haven't seen it.

I use Protonmail. Obviously if Google has all your mail they have a lot of information on your interests, what you buy, and who you communicate with.

I use Signal for texting, as much as I can.

I use Fruux for my calendar and contacts.

I even went so far as to remove all my files from cloud services and now host my own Synology NAS (with multiple offsite backups of course). I know metadata can still be collected on me, but I'm trying to make them work harder for it ;)
 

aaronsk

Puritan Board Freshman
Like Logan,

I use Protonmail & VPN (yes I pay them)

I use Signal & Telegram

And have my own nextcloud hosted in my basement. For files, photos backup from phones, calendars, etc.
 

Christopher Robin

Puritan Board Freshman
Mozilla (the company that makes Firefox and Thunderbird) has gone "woke," and now they're inputting ads! They're the clowns that fired their CEO for having a politically incorrect opinion. That same CEO now makes the Brave browser. Which is far, far better.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
I use Brave for browsing, Signal for texting, and a VPN for an added layer of security. I still need to migrate to Proton for personal email, which I do very little these days as my work life is so interconnected with my personal life.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Brave is my go - to browser these days. The constant updates on Firefox make it unsuitable for regular use. Emailed web links are set to open in Firefox when clicked upon. I use Chrome for trusted corporate sites that are hostile to security measures. IE is still available, but almost never needed. MS forced a download of Edge at some point after they promised to leave Win7 users alone. And I use SeaMonkey only for the html editor that is included. So I only have 6 browser options on this machine.
 

aaronsk

Puritan Board Freshman
I put brave on my iPhone and Linux desktop today. It is very good and I will likely go away from Firefox completely. I had not tried it in a couple years and wow has it come a long way.

My vote would now be to use Brave for your browser.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Speaking of Brave, I put down PB to get the charitible share of the money I generate from accepting their ads. But PB apparently never took the steps to actually get the money - perhaps for good reasons, I don't know the details of the program.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Brave is based in Chrome, so how is it different from using Chrome, Duck-Duck-Go for search, and a VPN?
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I use Firefox. Not a big fan of the ideological direction of the Mozilla Foundation which is similar to the tech giants that make the competitors (excepting potentially some forks of their browsers like Brave). However, Firefox has the best extensions, the best support for the best adblocker (uBlock Origin) which outweighs any benefit to the foundation. And I think Google should get some competition for its rendering engine so that they don't have a monopoly (pretty much all browsers use the rendering engine of Google, Apple, or Mozilla at this point).
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Brave is based in Chrome, so how is it different from using Chrome, Duck-Duck-Go for search, and a VPN?
To be a bit more precise, Brave is based on Chromium, the open-source web browser engine upon which Google Chrome is based. Being open-source, it is free to modify for whatever purposes one desires. The designers of Brave have done this very thing. They took Chromium (not Chrome) and modified it inside and out to make it very privacy-oriented. So, for example, while both Chrome and Brave are built upon Chromium, Chrome is built in such a way that it is constantly sending identifying information to Google, whereas Brave is not.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I’m neither brave nor foxy. I once could claim I was tech savvy. I wrote code in several languages including FORTRAN when it was cool.

Now I sit in the corner with Edge on my MS Surface and Safari on my iPhone. Handing in my Techie card and retreating to my faraday cage cave....
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
To be a bit more precise, Brave is based on Chromium, the open-source web browser engine upon which Google Chrome is based. Being open-source, it is free to modify for whatever purposes one desires. The designers of Brave have done this very thing. They took Chromium (not Chrome) and modified it inside and out to make it very privacy-oriented. So, for example, while both Chrome and Brave are built upon Chromium, Chrome is built in such a way that it is constantly sending identifying information to Google, whereas Brave is not.
Wouldn't Duck-Duck-Go bring the same end?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Wouldn't Duck-Duck-Go bring the same end?
No. There is far more going on under the hood of Chrome that puts people's privacy at risk. A mere change of search engine, while a good step, is nowhere near enough. Brave changes what's going on behind the scenes.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
So basically, Chrome is owned by Google They have an incentive to track all your browsing, not just your searches. Even if you aren't logged into the browser itself with your Google account, as soon as you log into Youtube, Gmail, or any other Google service, they can tie all of that back to you.

I don't know for certain that they are collecting this information, but it seems a pretty safe bet. Other websites will place cookies on your machines that allow them to know your browsing as well. Google themselves estimated that something like 60 companies can probably see more than 90% of your browsing history. So browsers like Brave (or Firefox configured correctly) prevent as much of this tracking as they can. It's always going to be a tradeoff between privacy and security though. Brave is probably going to be easiest for most people because it's pretty good without having to mess with any settings.

DuckDuckGo is helpful for not letting Google see what you're searching for, but that's only one piece of this privacy mindset.

Just to be clear, VPN companies have often marketed themselves very well, but I would say that most people don't have a need for a VPN, nearly every site is secure (https/encrypted) so the VPN isn't for security.

"Using a VPN will not keep your browsing habits anonymous, nor will it add additional security to non-secure (HTTP) traffic." -- privacytools.io

If you access Amazon on a VPN, Amazon can still knows who you are and what you're buying. If you access YouTube on a VPN, Google still knows who you are and what you're watching. And if you're on Chrome and it's tracking you, it can still see all your browsing history. The one entity that doesn't know what you're browsing, is your Internet Service Provider. They just see all your traffic going to one server somewhere, and since it's all encrypted your ISP doesn't know what you're looking at. The other thing a VPN is good for is making another server think you're in a specific country so you can access content that is region-specific.

But in general, I don't think a VPN is really going to be useful for most people, it's mostly so your local ISP can't see the specifics of your traffic, but that doesn't stop Google from seeing it. VPN companies are really good at making people think it's a necessity though...

Appropriately, a channel I follow (Christian engineer) posted a pretty good video on privacy and data collection recently.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
So basically, Chrome is owned by Google They have an incentive to track all your browsing, not just your searches. Even if you aren't logged into the browser itself with your Google account, as soon as you log into Youtube, Gmail, or any other Google service, they can tie all of that back to you.

I don't know for certain that they are collecting this information, but it seems a pretty safe bet. Other websites will place cookies on your machines that allow them to know your browsing as well. Google themselves estimated that something like 60 companies can probably see more than 90% of your browsing history. So browsers like Brave (or Firefox configured correctly) prevent as much of this tracking as they can. It's always going to be a tradeoff between privacy and security though. Brave is probably going to be easiest for most people because it's pretty good without having to mess with any settings.

DuckDuckGo is helpful for not letting Google see what you're searching for, but that's only one piece of this privacy mindset.

Just to be clear, VPN companies have often marketed themselves very well, but I would say that most people don't have a need for a VPN, nearly every site is secure (https/encrypted) so the VPN isn't for security.

"Using a VPN will not keep your browsing habits anonymous, nor will it add additional security to non-secure (HTTP) traffic." -- privacytools.io

If you access Amazon on a VPN, Amazon can still knows who you are and what you're buying. If you access YouTube on a VPN, Google still knows who you are and what you're watching. And if you're on Chrome and it's tracking you, it can still see all your browsing history. The one entity that doesn't know what you're browsing, is your Internet Service Provider. They just see all your traffic going to one server somewhere, and since it's all encrypted your ISP doesn't know what you're looking at. The other thing a VPN is good for is making another server think you're in a specific country so you can access content that is region-specific.

But in general, I don't think a VPN is really going to be useful for most people, it's mostly so your local ISP can't see the specifics of your traffic, but that doesn't stop Google from seeing it. VPN companies are really good at making people think it's a necessity though...

Appropriately, a channel I follow (Christian engineer) posted a pretty good video on privacy and data collection recently.
We're big fans of Smarter Every Day, planning to watch that video.
 

Claudiu

Puritan Board Junior
Does anyone have any opinions on the popular web browsers Firefox and Brave? I have recently become fairly privacy-minded. Both browsers have their benefits. They are both privacy-oriented, free, and open-source. Brave seems generally to function better (i.e., it breaks fewer websites), but I've heard over and over and hardened Firefox, which does break many sites, is the best in terms of privacy. I have also heard from some that Brave is shady in its business model (let the reader understand). However, I also know that Firefox is operated by a bunch of freedom-hating leftists who attempt to capitalize on liberal propaganda. Brave was also started by Firefox co-founder Brendan Eich, who was ousted from the foundation because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.

So, I'm torn. Anybody else given any thought to this?
This is slightly off-topic, but as I've tried to tighten up my privacy as well, it's very discouraging to see that even with all my efforts, its only a small dent. Essentially anything you do out in society is somewhat tracked. If you buy anything via credit card, that information is sold. If you buy a house using a lender, your lender will sell your information. The list goes on. I started requesting information from many websites and services I've used in the past and noticed that nearly all of them sold my information. Like shouldn't QuickenLoans be happy I already used them to get a loan, why also go and sell my info as well.
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
The one entity that doesn't know what you're browsing, is your Internet Service Provider. They just see all your traffic going to one server somewhere, and since it's all encrypted your ISP doesn't know what you're looking at. The other thing a VPN is good for is making another server think you're in a specific country so you can access content that is region-specific.

But in general, I don't think a VPN is really going to be useful for most people, it's mostly so your local ISP can't see the specifics of your traffic, but that doesn't stop Google from seeing it. VPN companies are really good at making people think it's a necessity though...
For what it's worth, most people aren't on a "local ISP." That's largely a thing of the past, if it was ever that prevalent at all. Most ISPs are Fortune 500 companies, if not larger.
 
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