from the What-about-lynx? dept.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Microsoft Edge is one of the least private web browsers — even more so than other popular browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox — according to academic researchers.
According to the analysis, from Douglas Leith with the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College in Ireland, Edge sends privacy-invasive telemetry to Microsoft’s back-end servers — including “persistent” device identifiers and URLs typed into browsing pages.
Leith measured the connections made by six browsers to back-end services during web browsing sessions. From these measurements, he deduced Brave Browser to be the most private, with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari coming in as part of a less-secure second group. In the third, least private group was Microsoft Edge and Russian web browser Yandex Browser. Internet Explorer wasn’t included in the research since it is largely confined to legacy devices.
“The results of this study have prompted discussions, which are ongoing, of browser changes including allowing users to opt-out of search auto-complete on first startup plus a number of browser specific changes,” said Leith, in research released last week. “From a privacy perspective Microsoft Edge and Yandex are qualitatively different from the other browsers studied. Both send persistent identifiers than can be used to link requests (and associated IP address/location) to back-end servers.”
[...] “When the same identifier is used across multiple transmissions it allows these transmissions to be tied together across time,” he explained. “While linking data to a browser instance does not explicitly reveal the user’s real-world identity, many studies have shown that location data linked over time can be used to de-anonymize [users].”
Back in April, we reported that the Edge browser is quickly gaining market share now that Microsoft has transitioned from the EdgeHTML engine to the more widely used Chromium engine (which also underpins Google's Chrome browser). At the time, Edge slipped into the second-place slot for desktop web browsers, with a 7.59 percent share of the market. This dropped Mozilla's Firefox – which has long been the second-place browser behind Chrome – into third place.
Now, at the start of August, we're getting some fresh numbers in for the desktop browser market, and things aren't looking good for Mozilla. Microsoft increased its share of the browser market from 8.07 percent in June to 8.46 percent in July. Likewise, Firefox fell from 7.58 percent to 7.27 percent according to NetMarketShare.
[...] As for Mozilla, the company wasn't too happy when Microsoft first announced that it was going to use Chromium for Edge way back in December 2018. Mozilla's Chris Beard at the time accused Microsoft of "giving up" by abandoning EdgeHTML in favor of Chromium. "Microsoft's decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us," said Beard at the time. "We compete with Google because the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice."
[...] Microsoft developer Kenneth Auchenberg fought back the following January, writing, "Thought: It's time for Mozilla to get down from their philosophical ivory tower. The web is dominated by Chromium, if they really *cared* about the web they would be contributing instead of building a parallel universe that's used by less than 5 percent."
Is the browser monoculture inevitable or will Firefox hang in there?
Mozilla Teases Chromium-Based Firefox, Then Pulls Back
Firefox Tops Microsoft Browser Market Share for First Time
Netmarketshare Claims Mozilla Firefox Usage Drops Below Ten Percent
Microsoft Intercepting Firefox, Chrome Installation on Windows 10 Insider Build
Microsoft Reportedly Building a Chromium-Based Web Browser to Replace Edge, and "Windows Lite" OS
Mozilla CEO Warns Microsoft's Switch to Chromium Will Give More Control of the Web to Google
Microsoft Employee Sparks Outrage by Suggesting Firefox Switch Browser Engine to Chromium
Mozilla Was "Outfoxed" by Google
Microsoft Edge Shares Privacy-Busting Telemetry, Research Alleges