Our private web browsers are an important part of the modern legal professional’s tool kit, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. In today’s breach-a-day world, online privacy has never been more important than it is right now. Your web browser, depending on how you use it, could be leaking data to others without your knowledge. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the amount and kind of information it shares.
What Information Can Websites See?
Regardless of the kind of web browser you use, websites you visit are able to collect certain information. First, they can see your IP address. They use this address to send their web page to you. With an IP address, websites can infer your basic geographic location and Internet Service Provider. Websites are also able to see the browser’s “user agent,” which tells them what web browser and operating system you’re using. They can use this information to present a browser or operating system-specific version of their site to you. Additionally, websites can see which plug-ins your device has installed, along with the versions of those plug-ins, your device’s screen resolution, available fonts, time zone and more. Websites may also be able to see an “HTTP referer,” which tells the site how you got there. For example, if you click a link someone posted on Facebook, the site you visit could see that facebook.com sent you to them instead of you browsing to its link on your own or from some other website.