1.    19 Jun 2016 #1
    Join Date : Mar 2016
    Posts : 5
    win10

    CCleaner Ironically Defeats One Privacy Protection for Edge


    CCleaner ironically defeats a privacy objective in forcing closure of Edge. It cleans history for future app access to this data, BUT because it closes Edge before cleaning, it doesn't prevent Edge from sending your browser actions and history to Microsoft, which happens immediately on browser close, acc to Microsoft. You have to remember to manually clear history before closing Edge (if that isn't a clever lie) and that's a habit you may not develop easily.
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  2.    19 Jun 2016 #2
    Join Date : Feb 2014
    Posts : 487

    I am unable to reproduce Edge sending data to Microsoft when it's closed.

    1) I loaded the page that we're on and let the network traffic settle.

    2) Started network traffic capture

    3) Ran CCleaner, selecting 'Yes' for the 'Close Edge and Internet Explorer' prompt (which closed Edge and deleted history).

    In the Edge settings I have Edge set to sync Favourites and Reading List across windows devices as I have a Windows Phone, so it will sync, but it doesn't do it on browser close.

    In Windows Settings > Accounts > Sync Your Settings I have Theme, Internet Explorer Settings and Passwords set to off. However, the bottom three are set to on so they will sync, but they don't do it on browser close.


    As you can see from the below screenshot, Edge didn't send any data at all when it was closed by CCleaner. The green lines are non-public local traffic between my router and my PC. The line in the middle is a DNS request for www[.]piriform.com, which occurred when I opened CCleaner. No actual traffic is captured going to/from www[.]piriform.com because I don't have CCleaner whitelisted in my outbound firewall rules. Therefore, I can't reproduce what you are experiencing, Edge just closes for me.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    However, even disregarding ISP/DNS logs, unfortunately you have very little privacy of what sites you're visiting on the internet anyway. I once blocked all Google and Google owned company domains from loading any content, but I had to reverse it soon afterwards because it broke too many websites. It's incredible the amount of requests browsers make to Google servers, even on webpages that don't even run any ads and I'd be surprised if Google doesn't use that data. In addition, security features like URL reputation checking that check websites people visit/download from aren't phishing/malicious websites would also know what websites people are visiting, but to disable those security features would pose a much greater threat than being tracked. It's a bit of an uphill struggle I'm afraid.

    Regardless, in the 14267 PC preview build of Windows 10, Microsoft introduced the option to "Clear browsing data when you exit Microsoft Edge" so you shouldn't need to manually clear the history soon. I'm not an insider so I haven't tried it yet, but hopefully the rest of us will get this option in just over a month when the Anniversary/Redstone update is released.
    Last edited by ARC1020; 19 Jun 2016 at 22:16.
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  3.    20 Jun 2016 #3
    Join Date : Mar 2016
    Posts : 5
    win10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for actually testing this. In researching this, a Microsoft support article stated that MS did not collect as web sites were visited but only after the browser closes. Perhaps a manual close is what they meant, or a chron job runs on the database when I close Win 10 on shut down. Anyway, thanks for following up.
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  4.    20 Jun 2016 #4
    Join Date : Mar 2016
    Posts : 118
    win 10 HOME

    would turning off connection to internet before closing the webpage do the trick then clear history and then restart? just a thought i like airplane mode or a hard wired switch like my old midern laptop.
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  5.    20 Jun 2016 #5
    Join Date : Feb 2014
    Posts : 487

    Quote Originally Posted by mrhagerty View Post
    Thanks for actually testing this. In researching this, a Microsoft support article stated that MS did not collect as web sites were visited but only after the browser closes. Perhaps a manual close is what they meant, or a chron job runs on the database when I close Win 10 on shut down. Anyway, thanks for following up.
    I haven't come across that article although when data is actually being sent is a bit irrelevant if you don't want Edge to send any of your browsing history at all. Therefore I'd read through the Edge FAQ article and follow the instructions accordingly: (Note: There's a separate Cortana FAQ article)

    I don’t want my browsing history to be sent to Microsoft. Can I turn this off?

    There are a couple of ways in which your browsing data may be sent to Microsoft. Here’s what they are and how to change those settings:

    • Only applicable to Microsoft Edge on Windows 10: if you’re using Cortana with Microsoft Edge, your browsing history will be sent to Microsoft to help Cortana personalise your experience. If you don’t want your browsing history sent to Microsoft for personalisation you can turn off the Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge setting. Go to More > Settings, and under Advanced settings, select View advanced Settings, then, under Privacy and services, turn the Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge setting off.

    • If the Use page prediction setting is on, it sends your browsing history to Microsoft, uses aggregated browsing history data to predict which pages you’re likely to browse to next, then loads those pages in the background for a faster browsing experience. To change this setting, go to More > Settings, and under Advanced settings, select View advanced Settings, then, under Privacy and services, turn the Use page prediction to speed up browsing, improve reading and make my overall experience better setting on or off.
    I should have mentioned in the above post, I had both of these turned off.

    In the Microsoft Privacy Statement, it also mentions browsing history for Internet Explorer being synced if the setting is switched on in 'Sync Settings'.

    Some Microsoft browser information that is saved on your device will be synced across other devices when you sign in with your Microsoft account. For instance, in Internet Explorer, this information includes your browsing history and favourites; and in Microsoft Edge, it includes your favourites and reading lists. As an example, if you sync your Microsoft Edge reading list across devices, copies of the content that you choose to save to your reading list will be sent to each synced device for later viewing. You can disable syncing in Internet Explorer by going to Sync Settings in the Accounts section of Windows Settings (see Sync Settings). You can also disable syncing of Microsoft Edge browser information by turning off the sync option in Microsoft Edge Settings.
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