When someone says they use incognito mode on their browser to hide and stay anonymous online, I often question it. They claim they use it so their employer, school, etc., won’t know what they are doing online. They aren’t necessarily using incognito mode for malicious purposes. They simply like to feel “incognito” or “private.” I usually reply with a snarky quote from the movie, The Princess Bride, which goes-
“You keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
You see, when I tell them what incognito actually does, confusion typically floods their face. Here is the truth behind incognito:
- Incognito does not mean private.
- You are not hiding from anyone.
- Advertisers still know who you are.
- Your school and/or your employer can see exactly what you are doing.
It is true. Incognito does not provide any level of real anonymity. Truth is, it never will. Why? Because that is not the actual purpose of the Incognito Mode found on your browser. When you open an Incognito tab, it often states that it doesn’t provide true privacy, which is clearly often overlooked.
So what is Incognito mode used for? Basically, after you close the window of your incognito tab, the browser does not save any logins, and it clears all cookies and history of web page activity. This is useful if you share your computer with other users, but it does not hide your web activity from your employer or school.
Here are two common scenarios when you want to use Incognito Mode on your browser:
- You need to logon onto your personal social media accounts on a publicly used computer, such as at an Internet Cafe or a Public Library.
- You are shopping for the holidays and you don’t want your spouse, child, etc. to see your search history.
If you truly want to achieve privacy and anonymity, ditch Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, and download the Tor Browser.