All mainstream browsers include spyware and sell our online habits and details to various third-parties for advertising and other revenue-generating purposes. This is an aggregious betrayal of consumer trust by tech companies, and so it's important to show this is not acceptable by switching to a browser that doesn't commit such actions. Here are a couple web browsers that you can trust aren't keeping tabs on your comings and goings.
Some browsers claim to remove spyware only to add their own. A comparison of various browsers is available at the Spyware Watchdog's Comparison of Web Browsers page.
Librefox is a patched version of Mozilla Firefox with a large collection of privacy enhancements built on top of a cleaned bundle of Firefox.
Various privacy-related preferences are set and locked by default to prevent unintentional or malicious alteration. This can be manually overridden by the user.
Librefox starts off with no addons bundled in, allowing you to start with a clean slate and install what you want, and only what you want. Its homepage lists a selection of addons that they recommend.
GNU IceCat is a patched version of Mozilla Firefox with all of the telemetry, spyware, and extra features either disabled or removed.
In addition IceCat has a nice “Privacy Settings” section on a blank home page. One caveat is that these are browser settings, affecting all visited sites. Where desired, I disable the browser feature and have addons replicate that functionality but on a per-site basis.
Automatically delete cookie set by sites after you leave the site.
Automatically connect to sites via HTTPS if it's known to do so by the configured rulesets.
I would love to replace this with Smart HTTPS but get corrupt file warnings and a zero byte file when I try to download it.
A handy quick-toggle menu allowing you to switch proxies without having to dive into browser preferences every time. It can also automatically set proxies on browser startup, or on a by-site basis.
Filter out advertising, trackers, and other clutter from the websites you visit. Will have some overlap with uMatrix, below, depending on configuration.
Allows the user to whitelist what types of media or third-party data a site can request. Blocks anything the user does not explicitly add to the whitelist. Also has some other privacy features, such as blocking mixed-content or spoofing referer headers to prevent tracking.
In the Assets tab of the uMatrix preferences there is a list of host file blacklists. These blacklists are also filtered by uBlock, so I keep them activated in uMatrix and disabled in uBlock, so only one of them is downloading updates.
There are plenty of guides on the Internet with different recommendations for switches to set in about:config, often for old versions of Firefox. Icecat and Librefox have some switches already set to disable various features you probably don't want or need, such as geolocation, webgl, etc. There may still be a few to keep an eye out for:
The following are optional, and may make browsing less convenient.
Will prevent various methods of tracking, but will also completely break various websites, such as imgur.com.
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/52.0
Stops videos and gifs from playing automatically. You can click on videos to start them when you're ready. Gifs will only display the first frame and will not play when clicked, but they will still be fully downloaded by the browser so gif-heavy sites will still load slowly.
Requires the most modern version of TLS, but there are some sites that don't support it yet.