Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by lotuseclat79, Aug 19, 2013.
Paranoid Browsing: anti-profiling plugin seeks feedback.
Sounds like an automated version of what I've been doing. If you can't stop them from data mining you, then at the very least taint the information they collect with doctored bs. A similar approach was suggested for dealing with NSA snooping a couple months back. If they are going to search our e-mail for keywords, then we might as well start including them into our everyday correspondences. Interesting idea, thanks for sharing this.
I'm not sure what they mean by browser history. If you disable referrer, block 3rd party cookies, and have your browser set to delete all browsing data at shutdown, what kind of history is there? Especially if you use Sandboxie and delete the Sandbox often... Are they talking about some kind of real time monitoring by an ISP?
FYI, they said browsing history, not browser history. The browser history, as you said, can be control in a couple different ways:
- blocking/removing cookies.
- blocking/masking referrer
- purging sandbox regularly
- purging your virtual machine and restoring to a clean state to remove any unwanted browser and system changes.
The browsing history on the other hand implies a much broader scope of tracking by: companies (server-side) and anyone monitoring/logging/sniffing your traffic (hackers, internet service providers, governments, etc.). Again the user has some control over this as well:
- running a virtual private network, connecting over tor, etc.
- securing DNS traffic.
- patching information leaks form addons, applications, etc.
- IP and Mac address spoofing
The purpose of this add-on seems to be to taint the information they collect about you by having another tab randomly browser the internet. Instead of trying to simply be anonymous. This is more about making data collection as inconvenient as possible. Unfortunately, this won't discourage advertisers from serving up completely non-relevant ads based on your browsing history and it wouldn't do much against law enforcement if your under investigation. They have more reliable sources of information: wire-tapping, job history, etc. I'm not even sure this would really be beneficial to someone trying to be anonymous. For tor users, this means more bandwidth consumption. Plus your connecting to a bunch of other sites. If anything this seems like it would increase your foot print, not reduce it.
Thanks for posting to mention this addon. I don't care use it, but it's an interesting concept.
I expect tracking mechanisms are sophisticated enough to catch/filter its "non-user generated" surfing as being noise. In addition to random timings, the addon would probably need to (maybe it does?) emulate mouseover events targeting various DOM elements... as well as scroll events. If it didn't (or if emulated a noScript -restricted session) then requests for "lazy loaded" images and other content wouldn't fire ~~ highly atypical if EVERYONE ELSE scrolls down to see the boobies on a given page (but the surfbot does not).
I'll stop short of calling the "generate noise" approach FUTILE, but it surely represents a wanton waste of bandwidth (and CPU cycles, carbon footprint, blahblah) in the same vein as "fasterfox", default prefetching, and configuring MaxConnectionsPerServer=20 (ah, most webservers are configured to cap ya at 2, or 4 anyhow).
The github code for the addon is INTERESTING to me because:
boy oh boy can I envision this being abused.
"Let's circulate a common set of surfing destinatons, and..."
-- conduct a DDOS attack
-- run up the pageviews for our fave tweaked 'Buntu flavor over at DistroWatch
-- make money while we surf the internet (generating bogus CPM adviews) Oops, did I say that aloud?
On the bright side:
combined with LocalStorage functionality, the surfbot could be modified to perform the equivalent of "WatchThatPage" (IIRC, free is 50max pages checked per week) or like "NetMinder" (back in the day) or GoogleSearch subscribe (pretty handy, but only notifies weekly). There are a raft of semi-intelligent (rules based, and Bayes -driven) RSS readers... but, other than Copernic (paid Win32 app) I haven't seen many intelligent crawlers for the general web.
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