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Author Topic:   Online Ads and Privacy
Posts: 19670
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.3

Message 1 of 3 (856476)
07-01-2019 8:41 AM

My MacBook Pro runs very hot (I have to put something between it and my lap) and drains its battery fast. Then last week I read an article somewhere about online security, and it described how invasive of our privacy online ads can be. It suggested Privacy Badger, but there are others out there. It's purpose isn't to block ads but to prevent them from grabbing personal information, like what webpages you're looking at, your email address if you happen to enter it somewhere (like logging into Google), etc. It does end up blocking ads that are unable to display without gathering information. Personally I'm in favor of websites being able to garner revenue from ads. I'm only opposed to the gathering of personal information.

I usually have several Chrome browser tabs open on news sites. I knew that some of them were demanding upon the Macbook Pro's processing capabilities by looking at the task manager, both the one for the MacBook Pro and the one that Chrome provides. Privacy Badger brought it all to all halt. My computer now runs cool. The fans haven't come on since I installed it. The battery lasts for hours and hours.

Two sites have complained about their ads being blocked. They provide a link to contact support, and it turns out both sites have purchased the same buggy software for providing that feedback. It says "Powered by Typeform" at the bottom.

On my iPhone I recently installed Privacy Pro, which looks at who is sending out information about you that you don't know about, and that blocks those it deems dangerous. It turns out iPhones (and I assume Androids, too) are very busy little bees while they're sitting in your pocket. Here's a list of sites that Privacy Pro deems okay and that my iPhone has sent information to in just the past 15 minutes:


That's just a sampling - there were actually at least a couple hundred contacts to such URL's over the past 15 minutes. I'm thinking of disabling some of these sites just because my iPhone is contacting them every few seconds, which seems absurd. If bad things happen I can always reenable them. Many of them are actually Microsoft (e.g., adamaiedge.net), and I don't know why I would want my iPhone constantly contacting Microsoft.


Edited by Percy, : Grammar.

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Chiroptera, posted 07-01-2019 9:42 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply
 Message 3 by caffeine, posted 07-02-2019 9:47 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Posts: 6911
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.9

Message 2 of 3 (856480)
07-01-2019 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
07-01-2019 8:41 AM

I started using Duck Duck Go's browser when I bought my Android tablet. As a browser, it seems to work pretty well. There may be some features or customizability options that some people would miss, but I kind of like the simplicity.

Ads come up, but Duck Duck Go allegedly blocks the tracking. That part must at least be partially working, because the New York Times won't allow me to use browser to read articles on their site - they insist that I turn off the privacy mode. If I'm going to read the New York Times on my tablet, I need to use another browser like Chrome. Since that's the only think I use Chrome for, there isn't much to track.

It says something about the qualities of our current president that the best argument anyone has made in his defense is that he didn’t know what he was talking about. -- Paul Krugman

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 07-01-2019 8:41 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Posts: 1791
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 3.3

Message 3 of 3 (856691)
07-02-2019 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
07-01-2019 8:41 AM

I use a script blocker, which blocks all scripts from running by default and allows you to selectively permit those necessary for websites to function correctly. This not only blocks taking software but also conveniently makes some sites work much faster by disabling most of the crap the designers put there, leaving the plain text I actually came to see. Other sites, of course, are designed in such a way that nothing at both all displays without JavaScript running.

What's interesting, though, is looking at the scripts being blocked. A huge proportion of the sites I visit are trying to run trackers from Amazon, Facebook, Google and other companies that I think are third party trackers gathering data for sale to advertisers. Far more than aren't. This is why so much of the internet is 'free'.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 07-01-2019 8:41 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

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