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Adblockers & Internet Privacy

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Following on from some reported issues with adblockers and resultant 'spoilers', I thought it might be useful to discuss current best practice, addons and resources.
Note I don't claim to be any sort of subject matter expert, just someone with a healthy interest in controlling the dissemination of my own data and what I choose to have shown on my screen.
Expect to have a healthy dose of paranoia from reading any further....

To start, at home I use PiHole for DNS, IPV6 is explicitly disabled as is DoH / DoT for all devices.
The current build of PiHole allows for groups to be created with different white / black lists so I can allow or block sites for Apple devices, visitors, TV's etc.
PC browsers are all Waterfox, with Privacy Badger, uBlock Origin, Canvas Blocker & I don't care about cookies, I also have skip redirect installed but pretty much turned off for most revisited sites.
Mobile is LineageOS (AOSP) with Firefox 68.11.0 (the 8x.xx is a pain!) and uBlock Origin. I'm also using AdGuard as a VPN & HTTPS filter.

Advantages:-
Faster browsing - less data transfer
Adverts - where?
Customisable websites - block elements you don't like or need
Reduce or stop Google, Facebook, etc. tracking you and selling your profile

Disadvantages:-
Configuration - are you sure you've blocked everything?
Usability - there's always a tradeoff, you might want to allow some sites (such as arrse) to benefit from your visits
Moveable feast - the 'opposition' will always be adapting, you need to keep up.
Knowhow - you need to learn how to use the addons beyond their default settings, this takes patience.
Not all sites will play nicely, you might need to look for alternatives once bitten by the privacy / adfree bug....
 
Very interesting. I'm using a Raspberry Pi to look at this page, and it's the first time I've fired it up in a while. I didn't realize the Chromium browser has uBlock Origin installed as default, and I got a "you're seeing this because you have an adblocker or scripting blocker" banner at the bottom of the page.

I feel a new browser extension coming on :)
 
I found an anti tracking addon for Firefox that doesn't screwup arrse. It's called Clear URL's.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Very interesting. I'm using a Raspberry Pi to look at this page, and it's the first time I've fired it up in a while. I didn't realize the Chromium browser has uBlock Origin installed as default, and I got a "you're seeing this because you have an adblocker or scripting blocker" banner at the bottom of the page.

I feel a new browser extension coming on :)
You can add a custom rule to uBlock, open the 'dashboard', go to the 'my filters' tab and add the following :-
Code:
www.arrse.co.uk##.gdpr-banner__trigger
www.arrse.co.uk##body > div[class][style*="position: fixed; width:"][style*="z-index: 21474"][style*="justify-content: center; font-family: Roboto, Arial;"]
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
I found an anti tracking addon for Firefox that doesn't screwup arrse. It's called Clear URL's.
Thats interesting, I didn't see any URL changes (to arrse) so it must be doing more that just stripping the tracking code from page addresses. It's definitely got benefits, and there's a fair bit of stuff on this page alone.

1603956200262.png
 

tgo

War Hero
Thanks for the canvas blocker, nice one, using Chrome mainly for the PC

AdBlock
AdBlock Plus
Canvas Blocker
https everywhere
Privacy Badger
uBlock Origin

old layout for Facebook cos the new improved version is shite and badly done.

I might be overdoing it on the ad blockers but I very rarely see any ads anywhere I go, and I'm on a 100 MBit connection and am not slowed down to the point of noticing it.
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
You can add a custom rule to uBlock, open the 'dashboard', go to the 'my filters' tab and add the following :-
Code:
www.arrse.co.uk##.gdpr-banner__trigger
www.arrse.co.uk##body > div[class][style*="position: fixed; width:"][style*="z-index: 21474"][style*="justify-content: center; font-family: Roboto, Arial;"]
I am most obliged for that thank you
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Thanks for the canvas blocker, nice one, using Chrome mainly for the PC

AdBlock
AdBlock Plus
Canvas Blocker
https everywhere
Privacy Badger
uBlock Origin

old layout for Facebook cos the new improved version is shite and badly done.

I might be overdoing it on the ad blockers but I very rarely see any ads anywhere I go, and I'm on a 100 MBit connection and am not slowed down to the point of noticing it.
Canvas blocker is a strange one, there is no apparent benefit 'on screen' but it does obfuscate and change the data sent about your browsing (and browser, timezone, OS etc.) to minimise the chance of identification by your habits - of course, if you have to login, it's pointless for that site, but it does mean that your 'fingerprint' can't be identified by other sites.

I used to have https everywhere installed, it became a pain when I was accessing http resources via a work VPN so I uninstalled it. TBH Waterfox / Firefox seems to do a good job of 'preferring' https, you can always (from Firefox 83) enable https only mode HTTPS-Only Mode in Firefox | Firefox Help but this can / will break sites with mixed content.

One of the more concerning 'leaks' is webRTC which is an old problem, some sites legitimately require local and VPN start / endpoint IP's, most do not however. There is an option to enable it but thankfully it's off by default (or should be! check in about:config that media.peerconnection.enabled is set to false).
Unsuprisingly, not only is it on by default in Chrome, but there is no way to disable it without an addon, now why would Google be interested in local addresses and endpoints I wonder ;)
 

XPara Mugg

War Hero
Regarding privacy: As my own FFS I've got to do something response to this Virus thing I've been involved in a few local initiatives. A common occurrence has been people who are unwilling to download the track and trace app because they would have to do so through the Google App Store. To access Google Apps one has to have a Google account (Gmail), Creating an account requires permission to access all information on the device including contact lists, photos etc.. These refuseniks don't want to give that permission.

No permission - no Google account - no Google Apps - No track and trace.

These are not habitual dissidents. The largest, and most frustrated group, is people registered for statistical gathering of household occurrence of symptoms and those taking part in the Cambridge Uni antibody study. Over a dozen like this in my current contact group. How many more nation wide?


I get asked stuff that I don't have an answer to. e.g.

Is it possible to download the Track and Trace App without a Google account?
What will I do if Track and Trace becomes mandatory?
Why does Google want this permission?
Why does Government/Boris do what Google wants?

These are people who would otherwise help. They are in other ways.

As one bloke put it. "I want to have the Track and Trace but i don't want to give them the numbers of all my friends at the golf club and my daughter's wedding photos".

I wonder how much this has contributed to the difficulties/failure of Track and Trace. And, has anyone in government thought of it?

Once the subject comes up it often gets, quite quickly, to the subject of paying for facilities on phones which cannot be accessed without Google Apps and the above permissions e.g. Calendar and easy photo transfers.. Most genuinely hate Google for taking their money and not providing the services and for the sneaky way they require access to do the smallest of things.

The other is sites which make it impossible to select cookie settings by passing you to impossible pages, dead ends or unfathomable third party sites.

Oh, and there is mounting irritation that they can't get discounts in Lidl because they can't download the Lidl App without.....etc.. :-D
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
@XPara Mugg Have a look at some of the 'APK' sites - I use apkpure.com but there are others like apkmirror.com which are as safe as the google store https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/depar...ase/nhs-covid-19-3-9-96-android-apk-download/ Their primary use is to service markets beyond the reach of the play store and as such are heavily skewed to games.

I used to have Windows phones and never bothered with Android until they became obsolete and potentially insecure, I didn't want to buy in to Apple's walled garden approach and a full android 'experience' wasn't something I was willing to do. I'd been looking at XDA for other stuff and as that moved on, I started looking at LineageOS which is basically a de-googled android - no play store, no 'mandatory' google apps or tracking, but if you need 'apps' then the APK repositories are the place to go to. It took a bit of research to find out the 'safer' ones and there's no guarantee that the more niche apps will be there either, the upside is that they generally have access to older versions so if for example, you don't like the latest & greatest Firefox, you can revert to an earlier version easily.

Oh, Lidl Lidl for Android - APK Download Might be Germany only, you might have to search a bit more - be mindful to check the developer is the 'correct one', you can download to PC and distribute the APK however you want (email, onedrive link, memory stick etc.) it doesn't need to be downloaded from an internet source every time, also, unlike the play store downloads, the files are not hidden away on your phone so you can share from your downloads folder if needs be.

The calandar & photo transfer etc. can be dealt with by using outlook & onedrive for android all for free, there are other standalone calendar apps but as with most things, 'there's no such thing as a free lunch' most of the free stuff will blast adverts at you, track and sell your data or just be out-and-out spyware. Better in my view to use something that you understand the scope and limitations of from a dev. with more to lose than a diy website
 
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The last few weeks, seems to be only on the newspaper sites, where you get a really offensive drop down.

Mostly high end adverts for Dell, NHS etc, but the frigging things infect a half to a whole page, making you have to stop and delete their crap.

My first reaction is to blast the scumbags by e-mail...... adblocker doesn't seem to stop them, any suggestions ?
 

endure

GCM
The last few weeks, seems to be only on the newspaper sites, where you get a really offensive drop down.

Mostly high end adverts for Dell, NHS etc, but the frigging things infect a half to a whole page, making you have to stop and delete their crap.

My first reaction is to blast the scumbags by e-mail...... adblocker doesn't seem to stop them, any suggestions ?
I use Firefox with Ublock Origin. This is the Mail in Firefox on my PC

mail.JPG
 

Niamac

GCM
Just a question for the knowledgeable; I've had two "odd" e'mails in the last 24 hours.

One from an Attorney-at-Law in Abiline, Texas, (Looked him up, exists) sending a reminder of the e'mail he said he sent me regarding a legacy. Not answered, deleted.

Second was from DPD (but not their usual website) telling me that my parcel was undeliverable and would be returned to sender. The parcel number when pasted into the real DPD site produced a nil return. Again deleted with no following of the offered reply sites.

Is this par for the course or is someone trying to get at my identity?

Sorry if this is the wrong thread - it was the closest I could find.
 

tgo

War Hero
Suspect everything. You'll know if you're expecting a parcel, or lawyers letter or not.

Things like parcels or'paypal' or anything offering you to log in on 'their' page can generally be disproved by simply going on to the real site and seeing for yourself.

They are getting quite sophisticated now though, and you can see how easy it would be for the unaware to fall folu of some of the tricks.

Anything addressed 'Dear Customer' will be fake, as will anything with an email header address purporting to be say from PayPal with a qwery.ruski@nlv address will also be fake.
 

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