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posted by martyb on Saturday May 03 2014, @01:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the sending-trackers-on-an-off-track-trek dept.

"EFF is launching a new extension for Firefox and Chrome called Privacy Badger. Privacy Badger automatically detects and blocks spying ads around the Web, and the invisible trackers that feed information to them."

From the launch description:

Privacy Badger is EFF's answer to intrusive and objectionable practices in the online advertising industry, and many advertisers' outright refusal to meaningfully honor Do Not Track requests. This week, Mozilla published research showing that privacy is the single most important thing that users want from their web browsers. Privacy Badger is part of EFF's growing campaign to deliver that privacy by giving you the technical means to disallow trackers within the pages you read on the Web.

This is an alpha release; we've been using it internally and don't think it's too buggy. But we're looking for intrepid users to try it out and let us know before we encourage millions of people to install it. If you find bugs, you can file them on github against either the Firefox or Chrome repos as appropriate.

You can try out Privacy Badger today on Firefox and Chrome.

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Ask Soylent: Online Privacy Tools? 26 comments

The EFF is promoting a security tool called Privacy Badger. As it's in alpha, I suspect it isn't going to be as good as other browser add-ons. What add-ons do you use and what would you recommend to enhance your online security?

[Editor's Note: We published a story on the tool last week.]

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by The Archon V2.0 on Saturday May 03 2014, @02:17PM

    by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Saturday May 03 2014, @02:17PM (#39242)

    > Mozilla published research showing that privacy is the single most important thing that users want from their web browsers.

    Which they then use to go on Facebook. Rather like using your body to shield your PIN at an ATM and then singing the digits as you type them.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Saturday May 03 2014, @03:36PM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Saturday May 03 2014, @03:36PM (#39257) Journal

      What folks want is adblock for video which is giving me MAJOR headaches right now. Anybody else seeing adblock for chrome broken? because within the past few weeks i have seen adblock totally crap out when it comes to Webkit. Don't matter if its Chrome,Chromium, or Dragon, don't matter what lists you subscribe to, adblock is just straight up not working for a large chunk of video sites and a few banner ads. It is bad enough that I'm advising customers to switch to Palemoon until I can find some sort of workaround because the ads make the video stutter like crazy, really sucks ass.

      As for FB? Having gotten married to a "commoner" (read non geek) I have found there is really TWO lines of communication going on with FB, the "public" FB which is filled with inane crap like "Oh look Jane had a baby girl" and then a second line where people use FB to say "call me" or to set up a private chat where they talk about the things they don't want broadcast on FB. Its really quite fascinating to see how much "under the radar" stuff goes on where FB is just used to set a time on make initial contact, and if I hadn't seen it first hand I would have thought the same as you but from what I've seen since getting married the ones that just shit everything onto FB are looked down upon, its almost treated like bad manners. Fascinating stuff.

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Saturday May 03 2014, @08:36PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Saturday May 03 2014, @08:36PM (#39318) Homepage
        Adblock blocks what you ask it to block. If it's not blocking the right things, then you've not told it to block the right things. Stop being lazy, and help it to help you.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Sunday May 04 2014, @01:33AM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Sunday May 04 2014, @01:33AM (#39358) Journal

          Bullshit because when you tell it to list blockable elements? you get NOTHING. So stop telling me I'm lazy and tell the devs to get off their asses and fix it. BTW on gecko? Works fine so its obviously NOT the user, its that a recent webkit update has fucked up adblock and the devs haven't fixed the problem. its not my job to debug their shit.

          --
          ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday May 04 2014, @07:54AM

            Then your "don't matter what lists you subscribe to" was a desperately incomplete description of how you attempted to remedy the situation, and you shouldn't have been surprised when I suggested others.

            It's certainly possible they've completely broken it recently. In which case, why didn't you just revert to the last known working version. Continuing with a broken version when you know there's an older version that works seems kinda dumb.
            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04 2014, @03:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04 2014, @03:04PM (#39487)

        As for FB? Having gotten married to a "commoner" (read non geek) I have found there is really TWO lines of communication going on with FB, the "public" FB which is filled with inane crap like "Oh look Jane had a baby girl" and then a second line where people use FB to say "call me" or to set up a private chat where they talk about the things they don't want broadcast on FB.

        Oh, so they only have your metadata? Well, that's okay then.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Hyperturtle on Saturday May 03 2014, @02:25PM

    by Hyperturtle (2824) on Saturday May 03 2014, @02:25PM (#39244)

    It doesn't seem right to post an article about a privacy blocking software, and then link to the direct install. Drive by downloads are part of the problem, and I can easily see people thinking this can be trusted only to find later it does the exact opposite.

    Even the installer for firefox suggests that the author is unknown/unverified. I'd want to trust the source, but I'd also like to verify it.

    The page regarding the plug-in itself does not mention the md5 and only discusses all of the great things it can do and may have bugs -- I can write something to promise great features that may include bugs, like accidentally disabling as many safeguards as possible and then showing a green OK checkmark saying that everything is just great, no worries.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Saturday May 03 2014, @05:05PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Saturday May 03 2014, @05:05PM (#39272)

      As usual, it comes down to who you trust. If it's hosted on the EFF site, odds are it's fine, but it would be nice to have a checksum these days.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Saturday May 03 2014, @07:20PM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Saturday May 03 2014, @07:20PM (#39305) Journal

        Why does it being on EFF mean jack shit? No offense to EFF fans but the biggest source of malware infections as of late on non clueless users systems has been devs selling extensions to malware vendors [arstechnica.com] who then use the autoupdate to shit malware all over the machine. the EFF version can be as pristine as a virgin's panties but if the dev has an inkling to make a quick buck (or works for a three letter agency which today is a possibility) then he can simply cash the check and sell everyone who uses this right up the river.

        I'm sorry but we just don't know enough about this guy to make it worth the risk. if all you care about is third party tracking and getting rid of ads....I'll probably catch shit for saying this but not everybody wants to fuck with having their own DNS setup like I have...the easiest way to do it is just to grab old APK's HOSTS file. the guy is straight up insane when it comes to keeping up with the bad actors so his list is fresh and up to date and he even wrote a little program (with the source code last i checked, so you can see what it does and tweak it if you want) that will keep the thing updated for you. I used it on a couple of my "must click on teh free tittiez" customers that just didn't have enough sense to keep from getting pwned and so far? it seems to be doing its job and keeping the nasties at bay.

        But I'd be SERIOUSLY leery of using some unknown guy's ext after hearing from devs they are getting 4 and 5 figure offers to hand exts over to bad guys. We have no idea what kind of money situation this guy is in, for all we know he is living hand to mouth and a check for 15k would be pretty damned appealing and once the bad guys have the ext you are fucked.

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Sunday May 04 2014, @03:28AM

          by Nerdfest (80) on Sunday May 04 2014, @03:28AM (#39372)

          This fear applies to absolutely *any* non-open source application.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Sunday May 04 2014, @06:41AM

            by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Sunday May 04 2014, @06:41AM (#39403) Journal

            Bullshit,this has jack all to do with OSS and has everything to do with the webkit update system. The EFF could publish the code on the front page and if the dev sells out? You be FUCKED, the source code won't stop shit.

            --
            ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
            • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Sunday May 04 2014, @01:49PM

              by Nerdfest (80) on Sunday May 04 2014, @01:49PM (#39459)

              Okay, then to any software, with an obviously higher bar for open source.

              • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Monday May 05 2014, @01:52AM

                by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Monday May 05 2014, @01:52AM (#39630) Journal

                Do you REALLY want to go there? Really? Because I can wallpaper this page with pwned FOSS programs if you want, you have exactly jack all but fricking anecdotes when it comes to source code and security and if you want to use anecdotes I have never seen a submarine therefor submarines don't exist...see why anecdotes don't work?

                --
                ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Saturday May 03 2014, @05:45PM

      by captain normal (2205) on Saturday May 03 2014, @05:45PM (#39284)

      Err...You actually have to click on the "install" button to download the utility. If you just scroll down the page you will find a full description.
      To me this does seen like a pretty good tool for browsing.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03 2014, @06:36PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03 2014, @06:36PM (#39294)

      /channeling nic cage:

      No checksum? Well, I don't know, but, instead of posting here, why don't you, well, you know, EMAIL THE PEOPLE AT EFF?

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by b on Saturday May 03 2014, @04:10PM

    by b (2121) on Saturday May 03 2014, @04:10PM (#39262)

    Currently in Firefox I have Disconnect, Adblock Plus with the EasyPrivacy list, and NoScript. I also block third party cookies. What exactly does Privacy Badger add?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03 2014, @04:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03 2014, @04:34PM (#39267)

      Who cares? It's a privacy badger! [badgerbadgerbadger.com]

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03 2014, @06:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03 2014, @06:18PM (#39291)

      from what I understand, its a heuristic version of Disconnect/Ghostery without a pre-defined blacklist that only blocks things on your browser that attempt to track you across pages (such as static image trackers and so on), it seems rather interesting but given its early development state I opted to hold off on testing it for a while until things settle down.

      I like the idea of it.

      • (Score: 1) by b on Saturday May 03 2014, @11:33PM

        by b (2121) on Saturday May 03 2014, @11:33PM (#39338)

        So if I block third-party cookies then this extension is moot?

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Maow on Sunday May 04 2014, @02:10AM

          by Maow (8) on Sunday May 04 2014, @02:10AM (#39362) Homepage

          So if I block third-party cookies then this extension is moot?

          Probably not.

          Allow me to speculate on how this new tool might work: look for sites that provide 1px images and are included via plain old HTML (JavaScript optional).

          If such hosts are referenced on > 1 site, heuristics indicate that they ought to be blocked.

          Cookies wouldn't come into play in this scenario, yet such a tool could still block some significant amount of tracking.

          • (Score: 1) by b on Sunday May 04 2014, @02:27AM

            by b (2121) on Sunday May 04 2014, @02:27AM (#39364)

            Aha, very clever. So in theory Adblock Plus's EasyPrivacy list should block the tracking site, but this new tool will catch tracking sites that the filter list has missed. And being plain-HTML based, noscript/disconnect/taco will all miss it.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by loiterer on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:24AM

      by loiterer (418) on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:24AM (#39415)

      For you (and for me, also a AdBlock, NoScript and also RequestPolicy) user this adds nothing.

      For the common user who does not have the knowledge/will to fiddle with NoScript/RequestPolicy until enough of a given random site they find works, PrivacyBadger looks like it would reduce the amount of tracking, i.e. this is a tool which looks like it could easily help the "normal" user.

      • (Score: 1) by b on Sunday May 04 2014, @10:32AM

        by b (2121) on Sunday May 04 2014, @10:32AM (#39425)

        Another reply suggested [soylentnews.org] alternative tracking methods that might circumvent these add-ons (presuming that EasyPrivacy filters miss them too).

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Zinho on Saturday May 03 2014, @06:24PM

    by Zinho (759) on Saturday May 03 2014, @06:24PM (#39292)

    I read this thread to see if the new plugin could replace Ghostery (which is seeming less trustworthy by the day).

    Found out that it could, and that Disconnect is another viable alternative.

    Left satisfied.

    I love this place =)

    --
    "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by b on Saturday May 03 2014, @11:35PM

      by b (2121) on Saturday May 03 2014, @11:35PM (#39340)
      Apparently [lifehacker.com], "Ghostery is owned by Evidon, a company that collects and provides data to advertising companies." Disconnect is open source.
  • (Score: 2, Informative) by neagix on Sunday May 04 2014, @09:24AM

    by neagix (25) on Sunday May 04 2014, @09:24AM (#39419)

    Number of trackers found by Ghostery on Gawker: 6, all not loaded by default
    Number of trackers found by Privacy Badger on Gawker: 2, enabled by default

    Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions -> Remove

    Done.

    • (Score: 2) by computersareevil on Tuesday May 06 2014, @06:34PM

      by computersareevil (749) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @06:34PM (#40268)

      They did say it was alpha and are asking for your help to make it better. Instead of just deleting it in a huff, how about helping them by providing them that feedback? Thank you.