The Douglas J Leith team from Trinity College of computer science and statistics in Dublin, Ireland, recently conducted aResearchSix web browsers are tested to determine the frequency of their phone home and the data they share. The six browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Brave Browser, Microsoft Edge and Yandex Browser.
Leith conducted this study to "assess the privacy risks associated with back-end data exchange," in other words, to determine the intrusiveness of telemetry. The team ran a series of tests to see what data the browsers were sharing in five different scenarios. The five scenarios are: starting the browser for the first time after the new installation, closing and restarting the browser, pasting the URL into the navigation bar, typing the URL in the address bar, and not using the browser.
The results show that from the perspective of privacy, these browsers can be divided into three groups according to their advantages and disadvantages. In the first tier (the most private) is only brave; chrome, Firefox and safari are tied for second; edge and yandex are in the third tier (the least private).
"From a privacy perspective, Microsoft edge and yandex are more worrying than the other four browsers," the report said. Both send identifiers that are linked to the device hardware, so they are retained in newly installed browsers, and can also be used to link different applications running on the same device. Edge sends the device's hardware UUID to Microsoft, which is a powerful and persistent identifier that cannot be easily changed or deleted. "
Since it was first started, edge has been found to be performing the phone home operation. At the same time, the browser also records each URL typed in the address bar and shares it with Microsoft's smartscreen website (NAV. Smartscreen. Microsoft. Com) and Bing.
"From a privacy point of view, Microsoft edge and yandex differ in quality from other browsers in the study," the report concludes. Both send persistent identifiers, which are then used to link the request (and the associated IP address / location) to the back-end server. Edge also sends the hardware UUID of the device to Microsoft, while yandex also sends the hash hardware identifier to the back-end server. As far as we know, this behavior cannot be disabled by users. In addition to the search autocomplete function of sharing the details of visited web pages, both functions transfer web page information to a server unrelated to search autocomplete. "
Full report address:https://www.scss.tcd.ie/Doug.Leith/pubs/browser_privacy.pdf