NSA leaks trigger steep rise in ad/third-party-cookie blocking


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Facebook has a heck of a lot more to do with me installing a bevy of privacy plugins than the NSA.

I mean, there’s nothing I can do about the NSA. They’ve got snoops on the wires and no plugin will help with that. But Facebook (and their social media ilk) have to use the old fashioned “put an image on every website in the world and log my ip” method, which plugins certainly help with.


I have used NoScript and AdBlock for many years, but just last week I started using Self Destructing Cookies. Like NoScript, there’s a initial acclimatization effort, but so far I really really like it.

I have no affiliation with any of the people who make these tools, although I have paypal’d a few zuleks to the NoScript guy. I cannot recommend them to anyone who is only minimally computer literate, they are too powerful for novices.


I use http://www.ghostery.com/

I like the way it tells you what the web page is doing behind your back
For instance, BB has about 9 scripts running in the background.


Yeah, NoScript is my bodyguard. Unfortunately, I can’t forsee it ever becoming ubiquitous though. It’s massively inconvenient first building up your whitelist, and the number of sites that simply refuse to work without javascript is growing.
It’s like web designers have totally forgotten how to build sites that degrade gracefully.
A lot of sites that degrade badly have no real excuse to. Some news sites refuse to work with javascript blocked even though there’s a script-free mobile version it could easily degrade to if the designers had a lick of sense. But instead I’m permanently rerouted to the “ermahgerd u shood urpgrade ur browser” page.


Would you eat at a restaurant if you found out the waiter insisted on peeing on your food? Answer, no. My guess is the losses to tech will be big. People don’t want hacked devices, computers, and networks. Also, everyone is going to go computer security crazy and that is going to cost money and productivity. This is what happens when spy culture invades the lives of people. Get rid of these spies and get rid of them yesterday.

If there is a silver lining this could lead to whole new forms of computing. Open hardware, open/free software, incredibly unbreakable cryptography, quantum computers, free networks, new network protocols, new messaging protocols, etc… Not having math skills is like being a soldier without a gun. Not being able to code is like being naked.


I think the self-help trend will continue to grow, and cookie blocking is just the beginning. More people are going to start using tools like Tails & TOR for browsing, Textcrypt for text messages and Cellcrypt for mobile phone calls. Then, take everything off of Dropbox, Instagram, iCloud, etc, and stash it all in a Cloudlocker (www.cloudlocker.it) which works just the same but stays in the house where they still need a warrant to get inside.

I’m sure we’re going to seem more and better tools like these appear soon as good ol Yankee ingenuity revs up. What a shame that it’s come to this. On the other hand, if it help keep the advertisers at bay, that’s a good thing.

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I’ve got my mom hooked up on noscript adblock and a couple others. I just had to teach her how to use “Temporarily allow all this site” menu selection…

Actually I need to add that she does not use the menu selection often… Most sites she is going to go to are not malicious.

I have ghostery too, it’s interesting but don’t you just ignore it after a while ? Every website have at least 4 trackers.

I like the way you think, but I’m afraid “most people” simply won’t care to install anything or change the defaults.

I like Disconnect for this.

My personal strategy is to appear to be doing nothing about it, but on the inside I am steely alert to every bit out of place. Trust me, OK?

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Yeah, I pretty much expect every website to have at least a couple of trackers. What’s interesting is when I find a site that has zero scripts (trackers). Either way, I rarely need to make an exception and I let Ghostery do it’s thing.

If only the two were connected in any meaningful way.

I block ads on principle (no advertisers, you don’t know what I want to buy) but since the NSA is likely getting the raw feed straight from ISPs/telcos it doesn’t fucking matter WHAT you’re doing for obfuscation: unless it’s encrypted end to end using a decent algorithm with a public key.

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I agree, we have to re-think and re-engineer everything.

It might incrementally reduce the value of the data provided by the NSA’s private-sector helpers; but that’s about it.

On the plus side, since almost any amount of paranoia about internet surveillance (public or private) is probably justified, increased anxiety probably will improve people’s security, albeit against advertising scum rather than feds.

(In an ideal world, advertising scum, along with American ‘cloud’ providers who can’t sell to foreigners anymore, will go crying to congress and deploy their almost-certainly-better-than-the-civil-libertarians lobbying firepower to demand a more ‘business friendly’ atmosphere. If we can’t win on principle, I’ll settle for trying to win because it’s in some scumbag’s economic interest…)

I don’t recall ever setting it that way, but my install of FF has been set to that, by default perhpas?


One thing to keep in mind if you use tools like AdBlock Plus or Ghostery is that they may not be completely configured at installation for maximum blocking.

AdBlock Plus has an option labeled “Allow some non-intrusive advertising.” If this is enabled, than this rather long list of hosts is not blocked.

Likewise, if you enable “GhostRank” in Ghostery, information about what you encounter while surfing the web is sent to Ghostery. Ghostery claims this is anonymized and used for statistical purposes only, but it is still sent. You can disable the GhostRank option if you want, though.

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