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What doesn’t incognito mode protect against?

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This post was originally posted on ExpressVPN’s blog. Check out the original post here. Also, do check out ExpressVPN’s cheap and extremely reliable VPN service.

Among many other techniques, websites can use cookies to track your browsing history, which may also reveal your online habits.

Beyond the use of cookies, you may be tracked through DNS records or by your system administrator. An incognito window will help against some threats but is useless against others.

How incognito mode works

Incognito mode

The incognito window or private browser will open a new window that behaves like a freshly installed browser on a new computer. There are no cookies, no bookmarks, no saved searches, and no pre-filled forms. Every time you close the incognito window, all the information the browser collected will be deleted.

This, unfortunately, does not stop others from collecting information about you.

 

Incognito mode will prevent cookies from identifying you

When you visit a website, embedded scripts will place a small file called a cookie on your computer. This cookie can, when you visit the site again, be read by the site and used to identify you.

This can be useful, as it allows you to stay logged in even after your computer is rebooted, and quickly lets you share news on any social media accounts.

However, cookies also let social media companies (and the NSA) track you across sites. For example, social media sites let news organizations embed snippets of code that show how often an article has been shared.

These snippets also feed back information about which sites you’ve visited, and which articles you’ve been reading. This gathered data can be used to feed you targeted advertisements or identify your religious, political, or sexual preferences.

How to stop cookies from tracking you

  1. Disable third-party cookies and consider deleting cookies every time you restart your browser
  2. Install Privacy Badger to see which cookies a site uses, then block them where appropriate
  3. Use an incognito window to open sites and articles that you do not wish to be connected to your regular browsing or purchasing habits.

Incognito mode will help protect against browser fingerprinting

Cookies are still the number one method for collecting information online, but browser fingerprinting has become increasingly popular.

With browser fingerprinting, the website you visit will gather information about your browser, the fonts you have installed, and the add-ons or browser extensions you use. This information could be enough to detect you, even if you’re careful about your privacy.

Browser fingerprinting is more of a probability score than an exact match for who’s who on the internet, but it does work and is hard to defend against. Check out EFF’s Panopticlickto see what browser fingerprinting looks like in action.

How to limit the effectiveness of browser fingerprinting

  1. To avoid fingerprinting, run a popular browser that uses no default fonts or extensions, like the Tor Browser
  2. Be careful with extensions, as some extensions are detectable by the sites you visit. The ExpressVPN Chrome Extension is safe to use even in incognito mode.

Incognito mode will stop family members snooping on your computer

If somebody else, like a family member or flatmate, has access to your computer, an incognito window can help you hide certain activity (like buying a birthday present) from them. In fact, it is probably a much better option than deleting your history altogether, which might raise unnecessary suspicion.

Incognito mode won’t stop people tracking you with your DNS records

Every time you visit a website, like ExpressVPN.com, your browser will have to obtain the site’s IP address. The browser will ask a DNS server “what is the IP address of expressvpn.com.” The DNS server then responds with the correct answer, allowing you to connect to the ExpressVPN website.

However, the DNS server may record your queries and sell them to advertisers or pass them on to law enforcement.

By default, your DNS service is supplied by your Internet Service Provider, but it can be changed to one maintained by Google. There are also free DNS services that promise not to pass on your information, such as OpenNIC.

VPN providers like ExpressVPN also maintain their own DNS service, which comes included with a VPN subscription. ExpressVPN does not keep logs and does not pass on any information to advertisers.

Minimize the threat from DNS tracking:

Incognito mode won’t stop system administrators at work or school from tracking you

If you use public Wi-Fi or connect to your school or work network, the administrator can see every site you visit. For sites not encrypted with HTTPS, they are even able to see the contents of the site and all information you exchange with it.

Incognito windows will not protect you from system admins.

Minimize the threat of system admins tracking you

  1. Use Tor or a VPN (or both) to hide your browsing habits from the network administrator.

Be careful if the computer you are using is not yours (such as a computer at school or work). The owner of these devices may have installed other tracking software that will collect information even if you use a VPN or Tor.

Great reasons to open an incognito window

  • Hide your browsing history from others using your computer
  • Hide browsing habits from advertisers
  • Avoid browser fingerprinting

Make use of the incognito window when it makes sense! It’s a great tool that will help you maintain control over your own data. Use the Tor Browser and a VPN connection to shield against intruders, and use your own devices whenever possible.


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Netflix plans to add a new “Ultra” tier to its premium subscription service

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Netflix is in works testing out a new premium subscription plan for its viewers.

The plan, dubbed “Ultra” is an elevation over the entertainment giant’s premium plan; priced a little more than the latter- which is currently the topmost plan a user can subscribe to. According to TuttoAndroid, an Italian blog, the new pricing plan could be devised at €16.99.

The new pricing, though, would be justified by enabling Ultra HD streaming support for at the most 4 devices at a time. Currently, the premium plan houses support for HDR video, but if this plan gets an actual release, the new ultra plan would embezzle the facilities from the premium plan. However, the new plan won’t steal away the privilege of streaming content from Netflix on 4 devices simultaneously- as the current premier tier offers.

The report from TuttoAndroid also claimed that the company could even reduce the number of simultaneous streaming allowances from the premier tier from four to two. Ultimately, Netflix is having a dry run on its pricing plans to learn how customers respond to the changes, the report includes. Not just that, Netflix is tinkering with the pricing for the Ultra plan as well. In Germany, there were two price points- €16.99 and €19.99 respectively.

In lieu of this discussion, a company spokesperson said, “In this case, we are testing slightly different price points and features to better understand how consumers value Netflix.” Additionally, the new pricing point won’t be tested extensively, in fact, the plan may never release to the public at all. The representative claimed, “Not everyone will see this test and we may not ever offer the specific price points or features included in this test.” Owing to that, there is a high chance that we might see some changes in the final structure.

Netflix has almost always been experimenting with its service. Recently, it made plans to set deep grounds in India by providing more original content than ever, after just two years of its release in the country. Let’s see what happens!

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News

A popular Chinese website gets banned for mocking a communist hero

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China bans website mocking communist heroes in rage comcs

Now you can get banned for burlesquing national heroes in China. And the comics site Baozou has already been a victim of that decree.

According to the ‘Heroes and Martyrs protection act‘ passed by the National People’s Congress and ratified on May 1st, one should not deride martyrs and communist heroes of the Chinese state.

The comics site Baozou, which has been banned for poking fun at ‘what not should be made fun of’, was a popular website specifically in China because of its alluring comics. For the record, Baozou had around 10 million followers on the Chinese social media site Weibo and around 2,50,000 subscribers on Youtube. According to The Verge, one of its rage comics– Comic 7723 was matured into a Netflix film named NextGen, voiced by Jason Sudeikis, Michael Peña, Constance Wu, David Cross, and Charlyne Yi.

However, the days of immense fame were kind of limited for the Chinese comic giant, all because of a video posted in 2014– which was then shared on news accumulator Jinri Toutiao. It all happened when Baozou depicted someone wearing a ‘rage face’ mask insulting Dong Curui, who courageously blew himself up to destroy a Nationalist Party Bunker during the Chinese Civil War.

Well, in a statement issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China, it “summoned the executives of several internet platform companies this afternoon and asked them to strictly apply the cyberspace regulation.”

Besides, in the wake of this, Weibo not only deleted Baozou’s account but also blacked out Jinri Toutiao, China’s popular news accumulator, and the video platform Youku. Although, this isn’t the first time China has performed acts of similar procedures. It is probably the only country that discourages the use of foreign services, which includes the widely accepted messaging platform- WhatsApp. And in turn, China encourages its residents to utilize services and apps made by Chinese developers only, for example, Uber, rapidly being replaced by Didi Chuxing.

China has also participated in censoring Winnie the Pooh for resembling President Xi Jinping, and the most popular one– censoring Peppa Pig for being an incendiary ‘gangster’ icon.

So, if you are a Chinese resident, better not go on a communist hero mocking spree on the interweb!

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Tech

Artificial Intelligence – The Future is here

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Ten years ago, if you mentioned the term “Artificial Intelligence” in a room there’s a good chance you would have been laughed at. Do you remember the robots you saw in Star Trek, Terminator? Have you ever thought they could walk between us? All of these can come true by Artificial Intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

The concept of what defines AI has changed over time, but at the core, there has always been the idea of building machines which are capable of thinking like humans. Learn AI is a well-advanced concept of Data Science. Today Artificial Intelligence is so popular that you can probably use for numerous times per day without knowing it. So it is the main branch of Artificial Intelligence which is based on the idea that systems can learn from identify patterns, learn from data and make decisions with minimal human involvement.

The concept of Al includes three main sectors:                                                                    1. Mathematical Expertise                                                                                          2. Technological Skills                                                          3. Business Astuteness

Why is Artificial Intelligence so important?

The data usage is increasing day by day in each and every organization. In order to make an effective use of data, the companies rely heavily on different tools.AI helps in better utilization of data by making extensive use of highly advanced tools and latest methodologies.

What are types of Artificial Intelligence?

There are various types of concepts to Learn AI, which is being implemented in today’s generation. Some of the types of Artificial Intelligence are as follows:

  • Supervised Learning
  • Unsupervised Learning
  • Reinforced Learning

Various steps involved in learning Al:

  •  Preparing the data
  • Automation and Iteration
  • Building Capable Models
  • Ensemble modeling.

What is the state of research in Al?

Research and development work in AI is split between two branches:

1. Applied Al – uses these principles of simulating human thought to carry out one specific task.                                                                                                                                      2. Generalised Al –  which seeks to develop machine intelligence that can turn their hands to any task, much like a person.

Research into applied, specialized AI is already providing breakthroughs in fields of study from quantum physics where it is used to model and predict the behavior of systems comprised of billions of subatomic particles, to medicine where it is used to diagnose patients based on genomic data.

What are the uses of Al?

The present world is almost run by Artificial Learning. AlexaSiriCortana and a numerous number of virtual assistants make our lives much faster. Ever since The world ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was coined in the year 1956, it has made little breakthroughs which were never appreciated based on it has seen advancements that has changed humanity a lot.

Help in complex tasks: There are already robotic systems that perform services like difficult surgeries, rescue during a disaster, fire-fighting, pipe inspection, bomb disposal, exploration of dangerous/unknown environments.

Banking: Banks use artificial intelligence systems to organize operations, invest in stocks and manage properties. In August 2001, robots beat humans in a simulated financial trading competition.

Hospitals and medicine: Computer-aided interpretation of medical images, Heart sound analysis etc.

In education and learning in various ways: It is used to provide personalized tutoring and analyses student’s study patterns to predict when they will get stuck and provide assistance. For students with learning disabilities, this technology can be immensely helpful as well.

In many more ways, Al helps us in our daily tasks.

What are the future prospects of Al?

We fear that development of intelligence which equals or exceeds our own, but has the capacity to work at far higher speeds, could have negative implications for the future of humanity have been voiced, and not just by apocalyptic sci-fi such as The Matrix or The Terminator, but respected scientists like Stephen Hawking.

This understandable concern has been the reason for tech giants like Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft have set up Al labs. These group will suggest some measure for ethical implementation of Al, future research and deployment of robots and Al.

That’s all folks !!!

Stay Tuned 🙂

 

 

 

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