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Brave Browser to Improve User Privacy and Security, allow Whitelist Tracking of Facebook

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Brave browser

Brave, the Web browser which claims itself to be a free, fast and secure alternative for PC and smartphone users, has been found as specifically whitelist tracking scripts that are used by Facebook and Twitter. Brave was launched in 2016 and it promised to block ads as well as protect users’ privacy, in addition to loading Web pages quicker in comparison to any browsers. The company is headed by CEO Brendan Eich, who is one of the Mozilla’s co-founders as well. Brave courted controversy after it launched the web browser and announced their plans of stripping out adverts from websites and inserting their own ads so as to earn revenues.  This niche open-source browser has been accused of purposely whitelisting Facebook and Twitter trackers, and this might consequently open up users to potential invasive tracking online.

In particular, Facebook has been the center of several controversies which involved privacy issues and misuse of users’ personal data. A post on the Hacker News forum was spotted by security news site Bleeping Computer, and the snippers of Brave’s source code pointed out a deliberate whitelisting of several known trackers which are being used by Facebook and Twitter.

Comments are written in the code as well as on GitHub clearly indicated that this has been a conscious decision by Brave so as to not spoil the functionality of Facebook and Twitter, which could include the ability to sign in to these services. A comment that dates back to September 12, 2018, has acknowledged that this isn’t ideal, and users should be notified and given an option whether or not they wish to proceed to websites which compulsorily require trackers to be enabled.

Other browsers and browser extensions, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Privacy Badger, have the ability to block invasive cookies and trackers by default but they allow users to decide whether or not they want to override such a facility and the extent of it. It looks like Brave doesn’t inform their users about these issues and allows them to sign in to Facebook as well as Twitter under the assumption that user’s privacy can be respected.

A Hacker News user who has the profile name ‘bbondy’ identified himself as Brave’s CTO Brian Bondy and replied on the original discovery stating- “There is a balance between breaking the web and being as strict as possible. Telling that we fully allow Facebook tracking wouldn’t be right, but we admit that we need to provide many strict-mode settings so as to protect conscious users. We block Facebook as good as uBlock origin with EasyPrivacy… We are taking this very seriously internally and we will soon iterate this and improve the current situation.”

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