Browsing in private mode

There’s a lot of reports that some web sites are blocking users’ access if they are on private browsing mode. One of these web sites is The Washington Post, who chose “Democracy Dies in Darkness” as its motto. It’s very funny that the very news agency that claims to fight for democracy and freedom is tracking its users and collects their personal information.

If you visit The Washington Post web site with private mode activated on your browser, you’ll see such notice:

We noticed you’re browsing in private mode.

Private browsing is permitted exclusively for our subscribers. Turn off private browsing to keep reading this story, or subscribe to use this feature, plus get unlimited digital access.

I do support asking for subscription or limiting the amount of articles a user can read on free plan but limiting people from using private mode is not acceptable. The point of private browsing is to not being recognized nor  followed.

This is actually much more worrying that this is a bug from browsers. A browser should not let websites know if a user is browsing web in private mode. Not being tracked should not be a luxury. A user should be in private browsing mode by default and if they wanted, they can turn it off.

Tracking people in private mode should be considered as a violation of people’s privacy and browsers should be forced to put more effort to make private browsing much more safer and easier for users.

Published by

Avatar photo

Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.