Microsoft Edge is the Least Private Browser

Earlier this year, Microsoft released its latest chromium-based Edge web browser, the same engine on which Google Chrome is running. This, however, leads to a browser war between the two tech giants.

Google warned the user against downloading Chrome’s web extension on the new Edge browser, citing a reason that web extensions are less secured on Edge. Microsoft, on the other hand, asks its users to avoid using Chrome Extensions as they can reduce the Edge performance and functioning. 

People were waiting for neutral testing and review of both the browsers, which was finally done by Professor Douglas Leith, from the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin. This will surely put a full stop on the arguments and debates which are going on between Chrome Vs Edge.

Professor Douglas Leith’s research is based on how all the popular web browsers communicate with the backend servers. And the results were surprising. He categorized the browsers into three groups based on the privacy perspective. In the first group, which is considered to be the most private, there is only a single browser – Brave. The second group with moderate privacy contains Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. And the last group with the browser with the least privacy includes Edge and Yandex. 

Isn’t it shocking? Considering the fact that Microsoft claims itself to be a more privacy concerned company than others in the business.

Professor Douglas further explained his result. He states that Edge sends the hardware UUID (Universally Unique Identifier) of the system to the Microsoft’s backend. UUID is considered to be a powerful identifier that cannot be changed or deleted quickly. This identifier can link the IP address of the device to the server. There is nothing the user can do about it.

Furthermore, Edge also has a feature of search autocomplete. This feature collects the details of web pages visited by the users and transfers web page information to the servers. Over time, this collected data can reveal the identity of the users following their browsing behavior. However, the good thing is the user can turn off the search autocomplete feature.

It is worth mentioning that last year a security researcher reported a similar issue with the old Microsoft Edge. The researcher named Matt Weeks tweeted about the flaw in the Edge. He pointed out that the Edge sends the full URL of the pages you visit, to its backend servers. He also shared a screenshot of an Edge script that had his website and username on it. 

When Microsoft was confronted, one of their spokespersons provided an explanation. She said that Microsoft Edge collects the diagnostic data that includes the device identifier for the purpose of ‘product improvement.’ This diagnostic data may contain information about the websites you visit. They, however, do not track your browsing history. She further added that Edge asks permission from its users to collect this diagnostic data and also provides an option to turn it off later. 

So finally, this settles it. Whether you use Google’s service or Microsoft’s service, your private data is not safe anywhere. Google already has a bad reputation regarding the privacy of its users. And with the latest revelation, Microsoft has lost its credibility too. It is quite clear that privacy in modern times is just a myth, irrespective of the browser or any other services you use of any big tech companies. 

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1 thought on “Microsoft Edge is the Least Private Browser”

  1. This is just another of many reasons why Congress needs to come out of the 19th century and start passing laws regarding what can be done with this information, along with information gathered by social networking sites, security cameras, Google Home, Alexa, ancestry DNA sites, and all other sources.

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