Get out of my work and stop snooping… 👀

Use a Private browser and /or VPN on mobile.

This post contains videos and is best viewed in web format at hmmstudio.com

I have tried many mobile VPN’s and private browsers, both paid and free.  The VPN, in particular , can be a nightmare to setup on mobile and some are dodgy to say the least.
So here are 3 that are easy to set up and use for the person who is not a developer, and is just a user from the general public.


There are 4 layers :
Search engine
Standard browser
Private browser
VPN

Search Engines

A Search Engine is

“A  program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web.”

Merriam Webster Dictionary


Search Engines are the back end ( hidden driving force behind your Web browsing experience ) and vary in different regions of the world. Use the one that suits your needs, not all have been adapted for mobile. 

Below inset is an excerpt from an article on different search engines and the pros and cons of each.

The Best Search Engines of 2019

“Most people prefer to rely on just one or two search engines that deliver three key features:
▪️Relevant results (results you are actually interested in)
▪️Uncluttered, easy-to-read interface
▪️Helpful options to broaden or tighten a search”

Read more at Lifewire.com

Standard Browser

The Standard browser is the good looking front end, that you the user interact with.


” A browser (Web browser) is an application used  to access and view websites. Common web browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.
The primary function of a web browser is to render HTML, the code used to design or “mark up” webpages.”

Read more at techterms.com

Private browser

Allows a user to browse the web without being tracked or leaving a data footprint.

A Private browser-
” is a privacy feature present in some Web browsers that disables Web cache, cookies, browsing history or any other tracking feature that the browser may have. This allows the user to browse the Web without leaving traces such as local data that can later be retrieved. “

Read more at techopedia.com

VPN ( Virtual Private Network)

A VPN  improves your privacy by hiding your physical location. It also secures your connection on public WiFi Networks.

” A virtual private network (VPN) is programming that creates a safe, encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the public internet. A VPN uses tunneling protocols to encrypt data at the sending end and decrypt it at the receiving end. To provide additional security, the originating and receiving network addresses are also encrypted.”

Read more at techtarget.com

Cookies and Trackers.

It’s important to remember that many  trackers and cookies are actually needed for a website to run efficiently and optimized.

Some aren’t actually tracking you personally they are tracking your interactivity on the site to allow your input and enhance your experience. For example when you click a link or button to which you want to be taken to a different page or article within the same website or a link to another site or reference .

Images, often require Javascript or cookies as they are often loaded to the site via a URL link from an internal file on the current website or an external file / site such as the original source.

You can allow these cookies temporarily and delete them after your browsing session or permanently allow them for quicker loading next time you visit the site.

If you block the Javascript and good cookies ( chocolate chip) you generally won’t get the images or interactivity of a dynamic website.


The trackers most people should be or are concerned about, are those from 3rd parties such as advertisers and trackers, who are after your personal details. These can be blocked separate from the Javascript cookies that are only interested in the preset interactivity for your experience on the website.

Pages or sites that require personal details or payments should and usually have a 🔒locked symbol in the URL area indicating it is a secure and private page or section. Otherwise standard sites that don’t require personal/sensitive details can be unlocked 🔓

Disclaimer:  I am unable to give a personal recommendation based on your location, ( I’m not tracking you) as I am in Australia and I am not considered someone from the general public. I am personally  censored by the Australian Government and can’t verify whether or not the VPN’s etc  work successfully in your country or environment . It is the intent of the Australian Government to censor me personally (not you)
It is NOT done through my devices or apps. It is done through the servers/service providers and connections, yet they will always try to blame the device and apps, especially if it is made in another country. I should point out however, that this practise is not commonly done to the general public for which this post is written for, so don’t get alarmed, this is not necessarily happening to you, I am not considered the general public.

I am able to give you the processes and how you configure and use them , but you will have to figure out if it is useful, working and beneficial to you personally at your end.

Mobile / cell phone browsers and VPN apps.

The following mobile apps are simple to install and suitable for the general public who do general browsing and want some privacy, rather than have everything they do out on the public Web for criminal snooping eyes or legitimate organisations who collect your data without your consent. These organisations may represent a topic, belief, ideology or movement that you personally don’t support, and don’t want your data to aid their cause.

For these demos I am using the OPPO A9 2020 ( Android platform ) and its
built-in screen recorder ( video)

Firefox Focus

Private browser.
Firefox Focus for mobile is an extension to Firefox , it’s a free app. It is a simple setup, no fiddling around, and well for people who aren’t that way inclined will drive them balmy just thinking about it.

You install it as a separate browser from the standard Firefox browser, which can also be installed free on mobile . It is simple browsing that has a settings which displays how many trackers are blocked and easy checkboxes for you to choose the depth of protection you require.

When you finish your private browsing session, you simply click the 🗑️bin icon and everything you just did is erased, you don’t have to separately click for history or cookies it is just one click to erase everything. Therefore you can’t save passwords or login details as it is one simple click to erase everything.

As it is a private browser, you don’t get a news feed upon entering it like Google or Opera, which suggests articles based on your previous history or your phone use history. You simply type in the news item or words you want to  search, or the url or website you are searching, and after the session click the 🗑️bin. It has no previous data to offer pre-determined suggestions.

For the 2 min Video demo below, I have used the Google search engine in the Firefox browser. 🔊 Sound On

🔊 Sound On

Chrome ( Google)

Private + Standard Browser.
Chrome ( Google) for mobile is free and has an Incognito Browser mode as well. It is integrated into the same app, so no separate app is downloaded and is often pre installed with Android phones. It is easy to delete your selected cookies and history, and you have the standard browser which is optimised and very fast on the latest version, which will give suggestions and a news feed customised for you. The choice is yours.

*It should be noted that the mobile Chrome browser is set by default with the location permission set to ON. You can turn this OFF in your
▫️phone settings ( not app settings) ,
▫️app management
▫️permissions.
Same applies for Google Maps and most other Google stock standard apps. ( older phone systems may be different)
*You may need to disable location in both the app settings and phone settings, depending on your phones  default settings. But don’t fret, it’s easy to find, as demonstrated in the video.

For the 1 min. Video demo below, I thought I’d use Google search engine for the Chrome (Google) browser. You can’t screen Record or screenshot when in Incognito mode for your privacy. The blacked out section is when I enter the Incognito screen. 🔊 Sound On

🔊 Sound On

Opera

VPN + Private  + Standard Browser
OPERA for mobile is free and has the 3 layers. A simple built in VPN, is integrated into their standard Opera browser along with a private browser, which you switch between within the one app.

This is handy if you want a customized news feed for general use, you can still delete your history after the session  and then have separate private browsing sessions for more sensitive searches where you don’t want your details stored or used.

On both the standard and private browsers you can save passwords and login details if you choose, and only delete your browsing history and cookies after your session. You can customise to a greater extent.

The VPN can be activated for both browsers or just the private browser. It does not give the connection stats or logs, like stand alone VPN apps.
It may slow your connection to websites and the loading time , this will also depend on your devices operating system. For this reason, on a mobile phone I recommend using the VPN when browsing the Web and visiting unknown sites and for times when you are managing your very private sensitive information, your regular trusted sites and locked 🔒 sites, may not warrant using a VPN, but an added layer of security can never go astray.

For the 2min. Video demo below, I have used the Yahoo search engine in the Opera browser. 🔊 Sound On

🔊 Sound On

ProtonVPN

VPN
ProtonVPN
is for advanced levels of privacy and security, yet is easy to install, is free or has paid options and is available for all devices.
▪️PCs,
▪️Macs,
▪️smartphones and even
▪️routers.

There are native apps. for
▪️Android,
▪️IOS,
▪️MacOS, and
▪️Windows.
They can be downloaded from verified App stores or their official website www.protonvpn.com

You can do a 7 day full feature trial. Plans and costs dated: 11 Dec 2019

Its all about privacy and security online.

“Unlike other free VPNs, there are no catches. We don’t serve ads or secretly sell your browsing history.

ProtonVPN Free is subsidized by ProtonVPN paid users.”

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Android App

I used the the ProtonVPN – Android for the 7 day trial with full features .

Set up is easy, once set up you just have it running on your device and it sets up a VPN for your browser activity as well as the other apps on your device and their connectivity.

Below inset is an excerpt from the ProtonVPN setup guide.

“Does the VPN just protect the Internet through my browser?
A: No. Once you are connected to a ProtonVPN server, your whole Internet connection is secured, and your public IP address and geolocation are changed. The applications on your device that connect to the Internet will also have their connections routed through the same secure VPN tunnel. Therefore, the services you access on the Internet cannot see your true IP address and location.
Does it matter what Internet browser I use with ProtonVPN?
A: ProtonVPN works with the latest version of most popular Internet browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, the Brave browser, and Google Chrome. However, we no longer support Internet Explorer as it is outdated.
What can I do to make my VPN connection faster?
A: The speed of your VPN connection is a function of the speed of your Internet connection. If you have a slow Internet connection with your Internet service provider, using a VPN will not make it faster.”

Read more at ProtonVPN setup guide

With a single tap, you can connect to hundreds of VPN servers around the world, view blocked sites and content, while also hiding your IP address.

Below is a 2min demo video of ProtonVPN – Android. 🔊 Sound On

🔊 Sound On

Location tracker permissions

Firefox Focus does not have a location permission request in the app or the phone settings. Excellent for a private browser. Only has one permission request :storage, in your phone settings.

Chrome browser is set by default with the location permission set to ON. You can turn this OFF in your
▫️phone settings ( not app settings) ,
▫️app management
▫️permissions.
Same applies for Google Maps and most other Google stock standard apps. ( some phone systems may be different)
*You may need to disable location in both the app settings and phone settings, depending on your phones  default settings. But don’t fret, it’s easy to find, as demonstrated in the video.

Opera has a location tracker permission in both the app and phone settings.

ProtonVPN does not have any permission requests at all in your phone settings . 🥇Proton is based and incorporated in Switzerland and is governed by strict Swiss privacy laws and is not required to hand over data to anyone eg. The USA, Russia etc. They do not access or store your data at their end.

Below is a Video demo of the location tracker permissions in the app settings for the 3 browser . 🔊 Sound On

🔊 Sound On

Below is a Video demo of the location tracker permissions in the phone settings. 🔊 Sound On

🔊 Sound On

To conclude:

Opera often comes pre-installed on many android phones but not always this version, this is the most up to date and you often have to update the pre installed version. It is very convenient having the standard, private and VPN in the one app.

Chrome is very optimised and fast. So you may want to use different browsers for different tasks, depending on what you are specifically doing. It is compatible with desktop and laptops and can be synced across all your devices, for your bookmarks, saved pages etc.

Below inset is an excerpt from an article about the latest Chrome update.

Chrome 79 arrives with password warnings, real-time phishing protection, and WebXR Device API for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. 

This release thus beefs up security for the world’s most popular browser and sets the stage for bringing virtual reality to the web. You can update to the latest version now using Chrome’s built-in updater or download it directly from google.com/chrome.”-Venturebeat 10/12/19

Read more at Venturebeat.com

Don’t forget Firefox Focus as a very straight forward, easy to operate Private browser, that is separate from the standard Firefox browser. It is very reliable, fast, and no frills. There is very little setting up that you need to do. Just download, a couple of clicks here and there and off you go. You also get the stats on blocked trackers and can customize what you actually need or want blocked. It also has a developers mode.

The standard Firefox browser is often used on desktops and complements the private browser very well.

ProtonVPN is the icing on the cake. Easy to set up with different plans to suit everyone.

Its OK to have all 4 on your device. As they are browsers that run online (Web Apps) , unless you specifically save things as offline or download to your device, they have a relatively small storage use on your phone.
Remember to set your default browser as your favourite most used browser, or on some phones set it to ask each time. ( when you click a link on a website, your phone will ask  which installed browser you want to use for the task )

All 4 can be downloaded from the Verified Play Store.

Always check the permissions required, in both the app settings and phone settings on your particular device.


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2 thoughts on “Get out of my work and stop snooping… 👀

Add yours

  1. Hi, sorry for the blank space in the middle, it is disclaimer section and ot mentions governments and my personal situation of being censored.
    Seems like a coincidence that this section is omitted from all correspondence leaving my site. As far as I can tell at my end it is still visible on the website http://www.hmmstudio.com
    That is if my website has not been blocked for view by anyone except me and those paid to harass me.

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