The NSA, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, your government’s spies – the list of agencies or organizations that have access to your data and may be spying on your activities just seems to keep on growing. The recent NSA leaks from whistleblower Ed Snowden have publicly confirmed that internet privacy has become a thing of the past, so the only thing standing between them and your digital footprint is the technology you use. A good VPN can go a long way when it comes to keeping your online activities private, but choosing the right browser is also important. Chromium-based Epic browser seeks to make your browsing as private and secure as possible by blocking internet cookies and tracking codes in an effective manner. While you can find many other such browsers out there already, Epic does offer some really great security features and sports the same great Google Chrome UI that we have all become accustomed to.
When launched, Epic shows you its customized New Tab page that makes it clear that the browser’s focus is on keeping out all sorts of tracking cookies and codes. It also opens another tab that focuses on explaining how it works, first telling you how you are being tracked on the Internet, and then elaborating on how the application can help you protect your privacy while surfing the web. The overall usage is pretty much identical to Chrome, as is the interface from top to bottom.
Epic also reminded me of our previously covered PirateBrowser built by folks at ThePirateBay, though the main purpose behind the latter is to unblock internet censorship, and it is built upon Firefox’s latest version instead. Coming back to Epic, it does a wonderful job rendering pages and blocking cookies along its way. On the downside, however, it also blocks social media integrations of sites like Google+, Facebook, Twitter etc., meaning you won’t get to see any widgets from these sites embedded in the other sites that you’re browsing. The reason for that is these widgets themselves contain tracking codes as their integral part, which can’t be disabled without disabling the widgets altogether.
Epic keeps a tab on all the cookies it tracks, and displays the total count on the New Tab page. That said, a pop up notification also appears for a few moments whenever a cookie or tracker code is blocked, displaying showing you details on the recently blocked items. Epic also uses its own search engine when you type any query in URL bar.
The home page of Epic Browser cites that it removes 11 common browser features that may reveal information about you to the tracking companies. Here’s are quick overview:
- No address bar suggest
- No URL checks
- Auto-translate removed
- No URL Tracker
- Installation ID removed
- RLZ-Tracking number removed
- Default Updater removed
- Installation timestamp removed
- No alternate error pages
- No navigation error suggestions
- No error reporting
Another interesting bit about Epic is that it lets you use a proxy to prevent the tracking of your IP address on the site. Simply click the plug icon in the address bar, upon which the browser automatically switches to a US-based proxy. This means sites like Hulu can also be easily accessed through Epic from anywhere in the world, without much hassle. The browser even blocks the sending of the referral header when you use the search engine, ensuring third-party websites never get to know what your search term was that led you to them.
While you won’t find built-in access to any extensions or those fancy Chrome apps, Epic is an awesome browser if you want to keep your web browsing as tightly secure as possible. It is available for both Windows and Mac OS X, with versions for other operating systems coming soon.