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One of the reasons I love HN is that the commenters here usually have a much deeper understanding of this sort of thing than I do.

Which is why I'm left wondering why nobody has mentioned Firefox Incognito mode (chrome too I think).

At least on firefox, incognito mode does not store cookies on disk. They persist for the duration of the tab/window you logged into.

this would circumvent cookie tracking, I think. I mean I guess not if you opened one icognito window and did all of your browsing inside of it, and never closed it?

am I missing something?




Incognito, aka private browsing, aka guest profile, is a great way to avoid permanent cookies (and local storage too!). This feature exists on all major browsers.

This doesn't solve all tracking, but it will stop some cookie abuse. Choosing to use it also comes with the downside that you can't stay logged in to sites, and you may lose context & history you wanted to keep.

Incognito is super useful for web development precisely because you can very quickly get a fresh profile with no cookies in it.


private browsing won't stop browser fingerprinting, which is an increasingly common tactic. Your browser fingerprint then is linked to other attributes (including other devices you may own, where say an IP may be shared) allowing firms to build profiles that are not-linked to cookies, which is harder to block.

Blocking the canvas fingerprint also enables easy identification, so you'll need a free add-on that generates noise.


Yep, all true. Incognito doesn’t protect you from tracking. The sooner cookies become useless to sites & advertisers, the sooner they come up with something else we can’t block. We might be mostly past that point already.




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