First look at Brave Browser's upcoming Off The Record feature
Brave Software plans to launch a new privacy feature, called Off The Record, in the upcoming Brave Browser 1.53.
Off The Record addresses a very specific use case: it is designed to allow one users on a shared computer to access sensitive resources without other users seeing records of these interactions in places such as the browsing history.
While it is always advised to use different operating system profiles, to avoid that multiple users use a single web browser or other programs, it may sometimes not be possible to do so. If a single profile is used, it may be difficult for someone to look up information or try to find help, without someone else knowing about it.
Off The Record reacts to sites that use a certain flag and it keeps a premade list of sites as well that trigger the prompt.
When Brave users visit a matching site, the browser displays a prompt to the user. It explains that "this site may contain sensitive content" and gives the user an option to proceed using Off The Record, or to proceed normally.
Off The Record, Brave Software explains, uses temporary storage for visits, so that the browsing history, cookies and some other data is not stored permanently in the browser.
Only data from that particular site is stored temporarily. Opening any other site in the same tab, provided that it does not support Off The Record as well, is stored like any other site.
Brave Software claims that current privacy mechanisms are not sufficient for this use case. Private browsing mode, for instance, may look like a good option, as it prevents the storing of local data when used. The problem with the mode is that it needs to be activated and that it may lead to browsing gaps.
Depending on how careful activity is monitored or inspected, use of private browsing modes may be discovered.
Similarly, using tools to delete browsing storage for specific sites is something that needs to be done actively. It may be easy to forget, especially under stress, and configuration may require technical know how.
Brave's implementation does not protect 100% of the data. The mode does not protect against network spying, the recording of data by browser extensions, any spyware that runs on the system, logs, and other technology that the browser has no control over, such as recording searches in the Google Search history.
The company is working with "experts and researchers at George Washington University and Paderborn University" to improve the Off The Record feature further.
Brave Software plans to launch Off The Record in Brave Browser 1.53. The feature is already in testing in development versions of the browser. It can be enabled in these versions by loading chrome://flags/#brave-request-otr-tab in the browser's address bar and switching the status of the experimental flag to enabled. A restart is required.
You may read the full announcement on Brave's blog.
Now You: what is your take on Off The Record?