Privacy Badger from the latest security now

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dmot

Well-known member
Dec 6, 2020
45
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@Steve mentioned Privacy Badger on the latest podcast and since I'm a fan of blocking anything that can track me, I installed the extension in chrome. I also run ad blocker, ublock origin and run pihole on the network.

Steve mentioned that google uses their own links to track you, which is why he installed PB. I went to google.com in chrome with PB enabled and it did have one tracker blocked. I searched something and all the results seemed to have normal looking links to me. When I hovered over the link the url matched the site I was hovering. Ok, maybe the tracker block is working.

I opened Edge, which I don't use and doesn't have any extensions, I went to google.com and I search the same thing that I searched for in chrome and the links still looked 'normal' to me.

I either mis-understood what Steve mentioned with the links or it is possible that pihole blocked a tracker (network wide) and that could be why things look 'normal' to me.

Either way, I trust that PB is doing something (I can see all the trackers it blocked even if there is overlap with other extensions/tools I'm using), but I'd like to understand what Steve was describing with the google links.

Thanks.
 
Chromium based browsers (so that includes Credge) support a tracking feature on links known as PING. Firefox does not, and Steve uses Firefox, so this is why he was discussing the demangling of the URLs that Google does to replace the PING feature for tracking.
 
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Chromium based browsers (so that includes Credge) support a tracking feature on links known as PING. Firefox does not, and Steve uses Firefox, so this is why he was discussing the demangling of the URLs that Google does to replace the PING feature for tracking.

I just tested with FF, no extensions in FF. When I google the same term, the links look normal to me.
 
the links look normal to me
Look, look how? Did you hover? Cause Google spoofs the hover to show the "correct" link.

On my version of Chrome if I google for "Hello World" the Wikipedia result entry looks like
Code:
<a jsname="UWckNb"
 href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Hello,_World!%22_program"
 data-ved="2ahUKE...A8QAQ"
 ping="/url?sa=t&amp;source=web&amp;rct=j&amp;opi=89...9&amp;url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%2522Hello,_World!%2522_program
 &amp;ved=2ahUKE...A8QAQ"><br><h3 class="LC20lb MBeuO DKV0Md">"Hello, World!" program</h3>
 ...
and Firefox seems to use Javascript to hide the magic. If you turn off Javascript, see my next post for an example.
 
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It appears Google uses Javascript in Firefox to hide whats going on. I think you need to turn off Javascript and then use Google in Firefox, and then you get something like this:

Code:
https://www.google.ca/url?q=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%2522Hello,_World!%2522_program
 &sa=U&ved=2ahUKE...D8QFnoECAoQAg&usg=AOvV....-yhgv-o
 
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Been running it for a few years already, and it just works fine, with no issues at all, and regularly gets updates as well. well worth it, and on this site only has blocked Gravatar as potentially dangerous, and who needs a fancy avatar when you have a username already, and Steve really does not like external scripting running on his pages anyway.
 
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I don't remember what the exact reason was (if Firefox has an extension removal log with timestamp, I could look it up), but I had removed Privacy Badger. I think there was something it was doing to just break sites I visited often. I know one site that I HAVE to whitelist something that is on block lists and Privacy Badger would forget I need to enable cookies to it, so the site would fail to even load anything (It feels like said site almost uses it like a CDN), and it would happen infrequently enough I forget that I had Privacy Badger installed, and it may not know I need to enable that site.

What could have been the final straw to cause me to remove it:
1) Some option I turned on ended being too aggressive, and I forgot it was something I could turn off
2) It was just too aggressive, and I only wanted the consent cookie (installed it before Firefox added native support) and noticed even thing was interesting enough to try it
3) It wasn't Privacy Badger's fault, I uninstalled it during a time my modem and router combo I had at the time decided to just drop packets, and I hadn't noticed that was the reason sites didn't load (Took months before I got it working BTW, and the current solution is to "downgrade" back to a previous router I have. Will switch to a pfSense/opnsense router later)
 
Been running it for a few years already, and it just works fine, with no issues at all, and regularly gets updates as well. well worth it, and on this site only has blocked Gravatar as potentially dangerous, and who needs a fancy avatar when you have a username already, and Steve really does not like external scripting running on his pages anyway.