Whatever form of browser you use on your computer —whether it’s Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox — you will have access to some form of private browsing. They come under different names such asInPrivate Browsing, Incognito Mode or Private Browsing,but they all function in the same way.
Private browsing has been advertised very innocently in traditional media as a way of hiding what birthday present you’re planning on buying your other half, or as a way of not letting the world know you’re a massive NSYNC fan. However, the innocence bubble cast over it by traditional media has been well and truly popped: no one is using private browsing to buy presents.
The way a private browser functions is that it blocks your computer from storing specific information. This means that a private browser is a fantastic tool if you work on a shared computer and don’t want other people accessing your saved passwords or account details. Due to private browsers not storing data, such as cookies,it functions completely separately to your normal browser. Should you need to view two separate Twitter accounts, one for work and one for personal, you can do so by having one open on the normal browser, and one open on the private browser.
This is the innocent motive for which private browsing was intended; however, it turns slightly more seedy if you dig a bit deeper. An example of this can be found by looking at the statistics on cheaters cheating again. 10% of cheating in relationships starts online. How did these cheaters’ other halves not know about their affairs? It is more than likely due to private browsing.If your history and cookies are not stored on the browser, there is no way that someone can access who you have been talking to or what websites your have visited. Therefore a snooping partner would have no inclination as to what their other half had been up to.
Another example of private browsing’s seedy underbelly is in the statistics surrounding adult-orientated websites. Stats suggest that as many as 20% of men admit to viewing pornography at work. This seems like an unlikely statistic as the website traffic from most workplace computers tends to go through a routerthat employers can log into and monitor if they choose to. Private browsing only goes so far when attached to a network like that. It is good to remember that private browsing only affects the browser on your computer and it doesn’t stop other computers and routers from keeping tabs on your history.
Whether you use private browsing for the use in which it was originally intended, or you use it for more indelicate matters, it is helpful to remember that for security purposes,private browsing is invaluable. The amount of information that can be freely given just through simple online acts such as filling in a web form to sign up for a newsletter, can be used to such an advantage if placed in the wrong hands. Private browsing can prevent this from happening as it clears the website cookies the second you close the window. Use it wisely and be wary if your partner starts using it too frequently.