We covered the state of online privacy in a recent mini-series, outlining particulars about covering your tracks on services like Facebook, search engines, and even torrents. Adding to those articles, we thought it'd be handy to provide a short tip explaining how you can automatically start today's most popular browsers in private mode. Note that in Firefox 3.6 and Chrome 5 there is more than one way of doing this, so you only need to choose one of the methods listed.
This feature allows you to browse the Internet without storing local data that could be retrieved at a later date, such as your browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and usernames and passwords. Keep in mind that private browsing offers virtually no protection beyond the local level -- for example, the websites you have visited will still be able to view your IP address on the server end and log your activity.
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