Brave Software has announced plans to deprecate the ‘Strict’ fingerprinting protection mode in its privacy-focused Brave Browser because it causes many sites to function incorrectly.
Fingerprinting protection in Brave Browser is a feature designed to enhance user privacy by preventing websites from tracking users through a technique called fingerprinting.
Brave offers two protection modes, namely ‘Standard’ and ‘Strict,’ that implement different levels of blocking against known fingerprinting methods.
As the announcement explains, the Brave team has realized over time that Strict mode is causing more trouble than it is worth for both the project and its users.
Strict mode’s aggressive blocking of fingerprintable APIs often results in websites not working correctly, or at all, leading to a severely degraded browsing experience.
Another issue is that Strict mode is used by roughly 0.5% of Brave’s users, with the rest using the default setting, which is the Standard mode.
This low percentage actually makes these users more vulnerable to fingerprinting despite them using the more aggressive blocker, because they constitute a discernible subset of users standing out from the rest.
Ultimately, the Brave team believes that dedicating resources to maintain Strict mode for a relatively small user base is not the most efficient use of the project’s limited resources.
Brave’s ‘Standard’ fingerprinting protection will continue to exist, enhanced, and optimized for solid protection against tracking, so most users shouldn’t experience a notable impact.
“Brave’s Standard fingerprinting protection is already very extensive and the strongest of any major browser,” reads the announcement.
“Brave’s innovative farbling of a number of major fingerprintable Web APIs makes it difficult for fingerprinters to get a reliable unique ID on your browser.”
“Going forward, we will continue to strengthen and expand Brave’s Standard fingerprinting protections so that all our users have ever-improving protection against fingerprinters, while maintaining the highest possible level of compatibility with websites.”
The removal of Strict fingerprinting protection has already taken place on the testing ‘Nightly’ release and will be rolled out to the stable branch with version 1.64 for the desktop and Android.
The current latest is version 1.61, so the change is expected to land in a couple of months.
Based on the 0.5% stat shared by the Brave team in the announcement and a reported 65.5 million active monthly users, this change is expected to directly impact over 330,000 users.