Brave's strict fingerprint protection isn't playing nice with websites - so it's getting the axe

Image Credit: Pixabay (Image credit: Image Credit: ar130405 / Pixabay)

Popular privacy browser Brave is dropping its Strict fingerprint protection mode, citing compatibility issues with websites among other reasons. 

In a blog post, Brave explained there are two fingerprint protection modes in its browser: Standard and Strict. Axing the latter "will allow us to focus on improving privacy protections in Standard mode and avoid Web compatibility issues," say the Brave Privacy Team.

It adds that since Strict mode blocks fingerprintable APIs, some websites don't function properly or at all. It also claims that fewer than 0.5% of users activate Strict mode. Ironically, Brave claims that this actually makes those users more identifiable, since they are such a small group that stands out from the rest of the crowd. 

Already good enough

Fingerprinting in the digital sense is the ability to identify users based on the particular settings, devices, and habits they employ, making them identifiable and trackable by certain websites and parties. 

Brave also cites the time it takes to maintain and debug Strict mode as another reason for sunsetting the feature, since it "takes our engineers’ time away from focusing on default privacy protections that can benefit all of our users."

It claims that Standard fingerprinting protection is still the "strongest of any major browser," and that its "farbling" feature, which randomizes the identifying features of a user's browser instance, makes it even more difficult for sites to identify them.

However, Brave also says that it will continue to improve Standard mode, increasing its protection from fingerprinters whilst also making sure it maintains the "highest possible level of compatibility with websites."

Strict mode has already been removed from the dev version of the browser, known as Nightly, and the change will roll out to main users on desktop and Android, beginning with version 1.64. The current stable version is 1.61.


Lewis Maddison
Staff Writer

Lewis Maddison is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro. His area of expertise is online security and protection, which includes tools and software such as password managers. 

His coverage also focuses on the usage habits of technology in both personal and professional settings - particularly its relation to social and cultural issues - and revels in uncovering stories that might not otherwise see the light of day.

He has a BA in Philosophy from the University of London, with a year spent studying abroad in the sunny climes of Malta.