When a service or tool is free to use, this means that you are the product. Or more specifically, the data collected on you and your behavior is the product.
Online privacy has been one of the hottest topics of debate in recent years. Naturally and rightfully, users want to better control the amount of data collected on them, but this is not always an easy task.
We all agree that it’s impossible to prevent user data collection while surfing the web. However, users can indeed limit the data collected, as well as decide which type of data tech companies can collect.
Browser privacy extensions are one of the best and simple tools to use in order to control what data is collected on you. Since Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, in this article we’re going to list the best Chrome privacy extensions to install in order to protect your privacy.
The best Chrome privacy extensions to use
- Privacy Badger
- Privacy Cleaner
- ZenMate VPN extension
- SurfEasy VPN extension
- Fair AdBlocker
- Browsec VPN extension
- DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
- HTTPS Everywhere
1. Privacy Badger
Privacy Badger blocks tracking tools and spying ads so that nobody can track your browsing activity without your consent.
The extension also blocks third party trackers that load invisibly when you launch Chrome. Or as its creators describe it: “Nothing can stop the Privacy Badger from eating cookies when it’s hungry!”
You can download Privacy Badger for free from the Chrome Store.
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The extension allows you to control with whom you share your personal data. Oftentimes, trackers reduce your browsing speed. By blocking them, Ghostery can also speed up your browsing. Another advantage of this tool is that it removes page clutter, so you can focus on the content.
This extension also focuses on offering you all the information you need to understand the different types of trackers and how they may affect your browsing experience.
You can download Ghostery for free from the Chrome Store.
Blur is an excellent Chrome extension that really keeps your private information private. The tool allows you to secure all your personal information online.
Blur saves, encrypts and organizes your passwords. The extension keeps you safe from hackers’ attacks. For example, if a website where you’ve shopped gets hacked, your personal information, including your credit card info won’t even be there.
Blur also blocks companies from collecting data about your online activity, including non-cookie trackers. Thanks to Blur, Facebook and other social media websites won’t be able to track you when you are not logged in.
You can download Blur for free from the Chrome Store. The extension also comes with a premium subscription that adds more features to the table.
4. Privacy Cleaner
Privacy Cleaner blocks websites and apps from accessing your private information and helps you regain control of your privacy.
Th tool scans, tracks and controls how apps access your personal information online. You can then approve, remove or report them.
Privacy Cleaner allows you to clear your apps’ permissions in just one click.
Moreover, it also alerts you when apps gain access to your private information, so that you can confirm your authorization or revoke permissions immediately. MyPermissions, the company behind Privacy Cleaner guarantees that all of your information stays within the company’s accounts and it not shared with third-party groups.
You can download and install Privacy Cleaner for free from the Chrome Store.
Your online search history is private and should remain so. SearchLock is an encrypted search engine and privacy tool that helps you to keep your search history private. In this manner, companies won’t be able to profile you based on your searches.
SearchLock works by detecting and redirecting your searches to its privacy-enhancing search engine instead. At the same time, the extension blocks these search engines from logging your keystrokes by deactivating the search suggestion feature.
You can download SearchLock for free from the Chrome Store.
6. ZenMate VPN extension
ZenMate VPN encrypts your traffic and hides your IP address, so that third-parties group can’t steal your data and follow you online.. The tool also lets you change your virtual location and access region-restricted websites.
The ZenMate VPN extension doesn’t affect your browsing speed, unlike many VPN services. Moreover, installing this Chrome extension is much simpler than installing a classic VPN program. With just one click, the plugin installs and you’re ready to go online safely.
You can download the ZenMate VPN Chrome extension for free from the Chrome Store.
7. SurfEasy VPN extension
SurfEasy VPN for Chrome protects your online privacy, enhances security on Wi-Fi hotspots, prevents ad trackin, and encrypts all of the data in and out of your browser. You can use this tool both for privacy and security.
Just like any VPN-like extension, SurfEasy also allows you to access websites blocked in your region and bypass firewalls.
You can download the SurfEasy VPN Chrome extension for free from the Chrome Store.
8. Fair AdBlocker
As its name suggests, Fair AdBlocker block ads, popups, malware and tracking tools. This Chrome extension allows you to browse faster, and protects your privacy at the same time.
You can use Fair AdBlocker to block autoplay video ads, YouTube ads, expanding ads, interstitial page ads, Facebook ads, Webmail ads, search ads, and more. You can always choose to whitelist the pages that you wish to support.
Fair AdBlocker doesn’t track you in order to prevent others from tracking you.
You can download Fair AdBlocker for free from the Chrome Store.
9. Browsec VPN extension
The Browsec VPN extension for Google Chrome encrypts your traffic so that nobody can identify what websites you visit. This tool allows you to hide your real location from the websites you visit, and cancels access rules set by your sysadmin.
You can also use this extension to access services restricted in your region.
You can download the Browsec VPN extension from the Chrome Store.
10. DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
As its name suggests, this Chrome privacy extension is brought to you by the creators of DuckDuckGo. With the help of this extension, you can protect your personal data and privacy as you browse the Internet.
The extension blocks hidden trackers on the webpages you visit and loads encrypted versions of respective websites when possible. When you visit a website with poor privacy practices, you will be notified about them.
DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials also offers you information about the advertising networks tracking you over time. In other words, you can see who’s trying to track you.
Once you’ve installed the extension, you’ll see a toolbar icon that shows you a A-F Privacy Grade rating. This score is generated automatically and represents the sum of all the hidden trackers, encryption methods, and website privacy practices.
You can dowload DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials from the Chrome Store.
11. HTTPS Everywhere
Many websites use unencrypted HTTP protocol in order to show you various information. In case you’re not familiar, the HTTP protocol is an unencrypted protocol, which means that third-party can easily intercept your data.
This means that if you register to a specific website that uses HTTP protocol, all your sent information can be intercepted by malicious users. This can be a safety concern, and in order to fix this problem, it’s advised that you always use an HTTPS connection. This connection is encrypted, and third parties won’t be able to intercept and steal your data.
Many websites will redirect you to an HTTP version of their website, and this is where HTTPS Everywhere extension comes in handy. The extension is created by The Tor Project and Electronic Frontier Foundation, and it will force any website that you visit to use the HTTPS protocol.
Bear in mind that this extension can sometimes block crucial website elements, so if the website you’re visiting isn’t rendered properly, you’ll have to disable HTTPS Everywhere. Overall, HTTPS Everywhere is a great extension, and if you want to enhance your privacy, be sure to check it out
These are the best privacy extension available for Chrome. As you can see, this list includes several types of privacy extensions: some offer VPN-like features, while other target specific tracking methods, such as your search history. Select the extension that best suits your needs.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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