You Need to Break Out of Your Browser

This article is a transcript of a video that you can watch by clicking the thumbnail below. Hence, certain statements may not make sense in this text form, and watching the video instead is recommended.


These days, the software most people use the most on their computers (or smartphones) is their web browser — the program they use to access the internet. Technically speaking, your browser may know more about you than most of your friends. Did you ever wonder if that’s a good thing?

Dependence on Your Browser

It’s interesting how much web browsers have changed over time. They used to be just for visiting websites, but now they do a whole lot more. But then, the more things you do inside your web browser, the more data you’re sharing with it.

It starts with your web browser learning about your browsing habits, preferences, etc. and then it soon starts to get to a point that you depend on it to retrieve a lot of personal information that earlier used to only belong to you.

If you do not sync your data with your web browser, it brings up a risk such that if God forbid the machine you’re using stops working or gets stolen or lost, you’ll lose access to a significant part of your life’s data.

And if you do sync your data with your web browser, which for a lot of people is their Google account, Chrome being the most popular these days, that brings up another privacy concern that you’re giving away more information about you to a company like Google than you’re supposed to, or otherwise be willing to, had it been in any different form, instead of being fetched silently through a software tool.

What Your Browser Knows About You

Regardless of which web browser you use, here are a few things that it stores for you:

  1. Bookmarks are the first thing that come to mind when talking about data persisting in your web browser. Different people care about different corners of the internet, but given how fast life is moving for most of us, we do not remember URLs to online resources anymore, and just bookmark important things we see on the web and would like to revisit later.
  2. Passwords are another of those things that somehow get stored in your web browser. You do not even need to store it, your web browser asks you if you’d like to “keep it safe”.
  3. Your web browsing history constitutes most of the data that the browser silently stores with it. It does prove useful when looking for a web page you’ve visited before but did not bookmark, but this data isn’t any less private than the bookmarks and passwords.
  4. Being as helpful as these software are, they store physical addresses from shopping sites, etc.
  5. And then when they’re storing your addresses, why not store credit cards and other payment-related information too?
  6. Browser Extensions also do get synced, but I’d probably not worry about them much as they’re a part of your computing setup, and they usually don’t have as much private information about you as the other elements we talked about.
  7. The web browsers help you store your preferences so that they behave almost the same when you sign into your accounts from another computer. No complaint there.
  8. One last major thing that these web browsers remember is your open tabs. Many times they also come in handy to continue your browsing session from a different computer.

The Problem with Storing Everything in the Browser

OK, so you share everything about your online activity with your web browser, but how could that be a problem for you?

  1. The first obvious one is the one we’ve already talked about, which is sharing your personal data with a company, often one that has their major source of revenue from ads and selling their users’ personal information. Maybe you do not care about it as much and believe that you do not have anything to hide. In this case, I’d recommend this video to you. I’m most certain it’ll change your mind.
  2. The other trouble could arise when switching between web browsers. Now I know you love Chrome, the way we all used to love Internet Explorer, but not all web browsers are available everywhere. A simple example is of a case where your employer doesn’t allow you to install your favorite browser on your work machine. How would you access your browser data then?

How I Do It

If you’ve been following me, and especially have watched my last video about my switch from Brave back to Firefox, you know how I’ve distributed my data across various sources. As a quick recap:

  1. I started by removing my passwords from my web browser and storing them in my password manager. In my case, the passwords reside in a local encrypted file that I sync across my computers and mobile device, and is accessible through KeePassXC, which is an open-source software that I can trust with my data.
  2. I do not store payment information or addresses in my web browsers anymore.
  3. I recently also moved my web bookmarks into an external service named, so they’re available to me from a web interface that can be accessed anywhere, instead of being tied up with my web browser.

With these items out of the way, we’re left with only a few:

  1. I need my browser to save my preferences, and that includes my browser extensions.
  2. I like being able to continue my browsing session from a different computer, so my open tabs are synced as well.

That leaves one of the most private items: the browser history. To me, this is the easiest to control by using private browsing tabs that do not record your activity. If something is generic enough, I do not worry about it getting stored in the history.

Recent Switches

So just the way I’ve switched through several email providers and addresses during the last couple of decades and still have all my email conversations, none of my web browser switches have made me lose any of my data. On the contrary, it's only getting better with every switch as I realize better ways to control, store, and manage data that belongs to me.


Maybe none of this matters to you, or probably isn’t applicable in your case. Nonetheless, this is just like insurance: having it and not needing it is better than needing it and not having it. Just saying!


That's all that I have for this video. Thanks for watching it till the end, may the maker watch over you, see you in the next video! And yes, "Free Palestine!".