Perhaps the most popular app for private browsing is Tor, the name of which is derived from the acronym for “The Onion Router.” This routes your activities through multiple random nodes to make your location and ID untraceable. This is incredibly useful for journalists and activists living in countries hostile to free speech and privacy. We really like Tor and feel like their “About Tor” page should be read in its entirety. Tor is also available for mobile web browsing from Android devices using OrBot. Also, you can use Tor from any machine and leave no trace that you were there using Tails, a removable media-based OS that has Tor installed. Just boot to a DVD/SD-card/USB-key and get online. Once you’ve finished your session, shut down and take your media with you.
HOWEVER- in recent investigations, the American FBI is said to have captured multiple TOR nodes and may have used them to compromise the privacy of a group of child predators. This would lead us to believe that the efficacy of Tor is perhaps in some doubt. There’s also this article about the DoD funding research to break Tor.
With that in mind, we would suggest considering using Tor in conjunction with a strong VPN. There are commercial services available, such as:
Anonymizer is a non-free personal VPN that uses a tunnel to their hardened private servers to provide the user with an anonymous IP when browsing. This means activities where your unique internet ID would normally be exposed and allow your communications or activities to be traced back to you would be private. The service is free for a trial period and then about $80/yr.
NordVPN is based outside the US and gets fairly high marks from users. They also do not keep user logs. According to their website they have over 200,000 users, pricing can be as low as $4/mo.
ExpressVPN is also based outside of the US and allegedly is the fastest VPN service available. 24 hour customer support and a money back guarantee. They seem to get fairly good reviews, too.
More Information on VPN Services
There is more information on VPNs on the EFF’s site. Also, there’s a great article on ArsTechnica about pros and cons of VPNs along with a link to a comparison chart of various VPN services. There’s also this PC Magazine review from July of 2016 of ExpressVPN with a side x side comparison with other VPN services.
Also, if you just want to block all manner of ad and other trackers, you might consider installing:
Ghostery is a browser plugin that allows the user to see every tracker that a website is using and enable/disable them at will. I’ve been amazed to see how much information some sites gather and have happily told them “No, GFU. No, no no no.” as I used Ghostery to block all of them. Highly recommended.