Privacy on a Chromebook

What kind of privacy information can an administrator see on a ChromeBook? Can my school see my browser history?

 Privacy on a Chromebook

The short answer is, yes. If this is a managed Chromebook the administrator pretty much has complete control over it and can see your browser history, even if you close the tabs at home.

They could also be monitoring at the network infrastructure level with a filter proxy. Since the Chromebook is managed they could easily intercept most secure connections silently by installing a their certificate authority on all managed devices. If you click the little lock to the left of in your URL bar and click “Details” then “View certificate” you can see who issues the certificate. If you’re connected to the school’s network and they’re intercepting secure traffic then you will see something other than “DigiCert” in the “Issued by” field.


Managed Chromebook Devices and Privacy

But regardless of that, it’s a managed device. You don’t own it or control it. The administrator does. That’s something you’re just going to have to make peace with.

Rule of thumb to remember: Assume nothing is private on hardware you don’t own. Always. The fact that you’re even able to open an incognito tab means they’re not doing a very good job. Certainly they could do packet captures at the network level to figure out what you’re doing while incognito, but that is almost definitely not happening.


How to See if your Chromebook is Managed

A managed Chromebook is set up and maintained by a school or company.

  1. Go to the status area where your account picture appears.
  2. Look for the managed device icon. If you see the icon, your device is managed.

When you sign in to a managed Chromebook, some features are already set up for you. Your administrator can install apps, set up printers, and manage how you use your Chromebook. The administrator settings may apply to your Chromebook even if you sign in with a different Google Account.


Check if your Chrome browser is managed

If you’re using a managed browser, you’ll see a list of policies when you type about:policy in the Chrome browser address bar.

If your browser isn’t being managed, and you go to about:policy, you’ll see “No policies set.” Learn more about using Chrome for Work.



Using Incognito Mode on a Chromebook

You’re probably going to get away with it as long as you stick to that incognito tab for everything, including search and YouTube , keep in mind though that big gaps in your history when you’ve been observed using the chrome book are suspicious. The absence of browsing data is almost stranger than a few misadventures here and there


Chromebook Privacy Settings to Change

  • Un-check “Use a web service to help resolve navigation errors”
  • Un-check “Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar or the app launcher search box”
  • Un-check “Prefetch resources to load pages more quickly”
  • Un-check “Automatically report details of possible security incidents to Google”
  • Check “Protect you and your device from dangerous sites”
  • Un-check “Use a web service to help resolve spelling errors”
  • Un-check “Automatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google”
  • Check “Send a ‘Do Not Track’ request with your browsing traffic”
  • Un-check “Enable ‘Ok Google’ to start a voice search”


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