• What does “Private” mean?


    I am using Win 11 21H2, and browse with FF (updated). I have always used “private browsing”, not for any real security reasons, just thought that it added another layer of…well privacy. And it is set to delete all cookies when the window is closed.

    Yesterday I saw a car in a parking lot that I had not seen before, I noted the name, “Ionique 5”. When I got home I did a search for it. There were plenty of links; I clicked on two. One was a manufacturer’s spiel, the other a 1000 mile road test.

    Today I started FF,  private mode of course. As soon as I entered “io…” in the search bar a list of 7 links to ‘Ionique 5’ appeared, five of which I had not looked at. I looked at the non-private tab and there were two links; one to the makers spiel, the other to the road test.

    So now I’m wondering what exactly does “private browsing mean? And what about the pop-up that says “cookies were deleted”. Should that be “Cookies hidden from view, for now.”


    Viewing 5 reply threads
    • #2503958

      Today I started FF,  private mode of course. As soon as I entered “io…” in the search bar a list of 7 links to ‘Ionique 5’ appeared, five of which I had not looked at.

      Links or search suggestions?

      Search suggestions in Firefox

    • #2504018

      So now I’m wondering what exactly does “private browsing mean?

      A single computer can have multiple user accounts.

      I think “private browsing” means that your browsing history, cookies and whatnot are thoroughly hidden from the other accounts, but not from your own account.

      If I’m wrong, I guess other AskWoody users will land on me like a ton of bricks.

      Wait for it …

      1 Desktop Win 11
      1 Laptop Win 10
      Both tweaked to look, behave and feel like Windows 95
      (except for the marine blue desktop, rgb(0, 3, 98)
    • #2504022

      According to Mozilla :

      Private Browsing does not save your browsing information, such as history and cookies, and leaves no trace after you end the session. Firefox also has Enhanced Tracking Protection, which prevents hidden trackers from collecting your data across multiple sites and slowing down your browsing….

      It seems from your experience that it isn’t so.

      Which search engine do use use with Firefox ? If its Google then you are tracked..

    • #2504090

      Private browsing does not save local data – pages, media, and (importantly) cookies from sites are not kept on the device when the private session ends. This can, to some small extent, combat some forms of tracking. For example, if in a subsequent session you return to a site that uses cookies for tracking, it doesn’t get those from your previous session since they’re no longer present.

      But so much tracking does not depend on locally-stored browsing data, and private browsing on its own can’t do anything about that. As Alex mentioned above, if for example you used Google to perform your search, they store information about you on their end – what you searched for, what type of device you’re using and its OS, your browser, your location based on your IP and/or GPS, and more – to tie that search to you.

      So, some use tools like additional privacy settings in browsers, add-ons, search engines, and VPNs that promise to combat tracking. Meanwhile, the companies trying to track you are using their vast resources to design new technologies to defeat those, which in turn forces the creation of ever more complex tools.

      Since I know that I could spend every waking moment trying to protect my privacy and still not succeed entirely (or even to a high degree I’d be content with), I only invest so much effort. For myself, I use DuckDuckGo for search and run Firefox with ETP on Strict mode all the time, with NoScript allowing only what is necessary for the functions of sites I use regularly. If I can’t get a site to work without allowing tracking, I question whether or not I need to use that site at all and decide on a case by case basis. For family and friends who inquire I recommend the same except for NoScript, since most don’t want to learn to manage it.

      6 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2504128

      Doesn’t happen to me but I have search suggestions turned off in firefox, maybe that is the solution.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2504116

      pop-up that says “cookies were deleted”

      I frequently use Firefox in private mode and have never seen a pop-up like that or seen any history of visited sites or searches done in private mode show up in a non-private mode window or tab. Once you close all private windows/tabs it should just silently clear your search and browsing history. Perhaps you were in a non-private mode by mistake or are using a browser extension to manage cookies that may have caused the pop-up and that may have saved the search?

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