Version 80 of Microsoft's Edge browser, now based on the Chromium source code, launched on January 15, and with it came an increased focus on privacy.
Edge includes tools to block both first-party cookies (used to keep you logged in or remember the items in your cart) and third-party tracking cookies (used to keep track of your browsing activity). Below are instructions on how to change your settings, see which trackers are stored in your browser and remove any cookies. We also address how Edge handles fingerprints, another method of tracking that identifies users by gathering information about their system configuration.
Deal with trackers
The new version of Edge blocks trackers by default with one of three different levels of protection. "Balanced", which is active during installation, blocks some third-party trackers along with trackers designated as "malicious." This mode takes into account websites that you visit frequently and the fact that an organization can own multiple websites; it lowers tracking prevention for organizations you engage on a regular basis. “Basic” offers more relaxed control; it still blocks trackers, but only those that Microsoft describes as "malicious." You can also switch to "Strict", which blocks most third-party trackers on various websites.
To change your security level:
- Click three points in the upper right corner of the browser window and go to "Settings", then "Privacy and Services."
- Make sure "Tracking Prevention" is enabled and then select which level you want.
Adjusting Your Tracking Settings
While Edge provides you with the three easy-to-select tracking modes, you can also dive deeper to see which trackers are blocked and make exceptions for specific sites.
- On the "Privacy and Services" page, look for the "Blocked trackers" link just below the three track prevention modes. Here you can see all the trackers Edge has blocked.
- Below that is the "Exceptions" link, where you can specify which places you want to track preventive off.
When you are on a website you can see an account of how effective your tracking prevention is by clicking on the lock icon on the left side of the top address bar. In the drop-down list, you can see associated cookies and site permissions, allow or disable pop-ups, adjust tracking permissions for that site, and see which trackers have been blocked.
Clean Your Cookies
Conveniently, Edge can erase multiple types of data each time you close it, including browsing history, passwords and cookies.
- Go to the section "Clear Web Browsing Data" in "Privacy and Service" (which can be found under the above tracking
- Click the arrow next to "Choose what you want to clear each time you close your browser."
- Switch to one of the the data categories you want to clear each time you leave the Edge.  Clear the surf data up close in the Edge "data-upload-width =" 1200 "src =" https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/KyMuTajcSxpyeumxr20ykWGW68o= / 0x0: 1200×779 / 1200×0 / filters: Focal (0x0: 1200×779): no_upscale () / cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/19659178/Screen_Shot_2020_01_30_at_2.29.48_PM.png "/>
You can also manually clear your cookies and other data at any time:
- Next to "Clear browsing information now", click on the button labeled "Choose what you want to clear." opens a smaller window with several options.
- Select the "Cookies and other website information" box or other type of data you want to delete.
- Click "Clear Now."
There are also other privacy features on the "Privacy and Services" page, including options for sending a "Do Not Track" request (although the utility of such a request may be questioned) and selecting your search engine.
Fingerprint and ad blocking
According to Microsoft, the three tracking prevention modes (especially strict mode) will protect against the type of adaptation that leads to fingerprints.
Edge does not block ads naturally, but you can download ad blocking extensions. Since the browser is now based on Chromium, many Chrome extensions (as well as Microsoft Store extensions) will work with the latest version of Edge, a distinct advantage.
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