Private browsing is a mode in internet browsers allowing users to disable the collection of their browsing history. When people use browsers, their history is usually stored in order to help navigate to pages they have previously visited, as well as allowing users to stay logged in to sites they have accounts for (usually with the aid of cookies). However, sometimes people wish to keep websites they have visited secret. This is especially so on shared computers.
Private browsing only prevents the browser being used from collecting data on browsing history. Any other points between the browser and the accessed site, such as routers and ISPs, would also be able to access this information. Private browsing only really provides privacy for a user on their own computer, and does not maintain privacy from outside parties who may be interested in snooping on the user’s communications.
It has been found that private browsing can sometimes leave traces of visited websites on the local computer. This technique only works using forensic analysis techniques, and not with simple methods.
Last updated: 5 November 2017