private browsingBrowser war are heating up like never before. While Google Chrome is preferred by those demanding speed of browsing, firefox is the preferred browser choice for those who want to have the customization of the browsing as per their needs. Safari is loved for its elegance, while the old warhorse Internet Explorer is mostly choice of the lazy and often-ignorant web surfers.

Whatever browser you choose, most of the them today allow you have private browsing session. What is claimed by private browsing by these browsers is that your privacy will be kept secret, while you browse the net.

But does these browsers actually fulfill the tall claims. Do they really provide the secrecy and privacy to you to the extent you actually understand them to provide you.

There has recently been a research on these issues in Stanford University, and the results claims that it actually is not like so. There are two basic parameters, which should be fulfilled by the browsers before making claims of private browsing.

  1. First and foremost, sites visited while browsing in private mode should leave no trace on the user’s computer. A family member who examines the browser’s history should find no evidence of sites visited in private mode.
  2. Second, users may want to hide their identity from web sites they visit by, for example, making it difficult for web sites to link the user’s activities in private mode to the user’s activities in public mode.

And they find that…

…there is a great deal of inconsistency in the type of privacy provided by the different browsers. Firefox and Chrome, for example, attempt to protect against a local attacker and take some steps to protect against a web attacker, while Safari only protects against a local attacker. Even within a single browser there are inconsistencies.
For example, in Firefox 3.6, cookies set in public mode are not available to the web site while the browser is in
private mode. However, passwords and SSL client certificates stored in public mode are available while in private
mode. Since web sites can use the password manager as a crude cookie mechanism, the password policy is inconsistent with the cookie policy.

Related: Firefox Private Browsing – Does It Really Secures Your Privacy

Read the compete report here.