Mozilla's Collusion Firefox Add-On Turns Tables on Online Spies

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by vasa1, Mar 1, 2012.

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  1. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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  2. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    From http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/collusion/
    I disagree with the "who decides" part as stated above. I think it should be made more elaborate. I would imagine that I have the right to object to materials being stored on my PC without my consent. But on what basis can I object to someone else remembering what I bought or where I went if they use their own resources and not my PC or my bandwidth?

    I think Mozilla's playing to the gallery here.
     
  3. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Well, they are storing cookies on your machine, and using your bandwidth for ads - unless you're stopping them. And you do have the right to stop them. This is just a monitoring tool, to see what you're letting them do,
     
  4. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    I took a look at the demo. Cute. But dragging the grey "dots" around can hog CPU (at least on my two-year old laptop). I'm not going to bother with it anymore.
     
  5. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    That's exactly the distinction I'm hoping to make: my PC and my bandwidth should be under my control. But tracking also involves sites remembering that I visited and that, at least to my understanding, does not necessarily involve utilizing my bandwidth or storing cookies or other objects on my PC. How can I object to that? I want that clarified, not the usual they're showing me ads and hogging my bandwidth, they're storing cookies on my PC.
     
  6. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    I think you are referring to two separate issues. The first one is tracking, which means your activity across multiple sites is monitored by a third party, using tracking cookies or other methods. This requires (most of the time) some kind of ID information to be stored on your computer and read later when you visit another site, and from a technical and theoretical point of view you have full control of what happens (i.e. you can alter or delete the tracking cookie, decide not to send it using a plugin, etc.). The second issue is logging which happens without you having any power to stop it. This is when a site stores your IP address alongside all the visited links inside that site.
     
  7. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Thanks! I appreciate the clarification. While we can stop the first, people want it not to happen in the first place.
     
  8. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    I changed my mind and installed the add-on. It's the first restartless add-on I've tried. It runs in a tab of its own. But I'm keeping an eye on the CPU in case things get nasty ;)

    Edit: The CPU rises momentarily each time the tab is made active and then calms down.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  9. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    I've installed it, but it doesn't do anything that I can see. The graph is always blank.

    Maybe it's my Firefox setup:
    • no history
    • no cache
    • private browsing mode
    • NoScript (default rules)
    • Adblock Plus (Fanboy's List and Popup Block List)
    • OptimizeGoogle (block ads everywhere)
    • CookieMonster
    • BetterPrivacy (no persistent LSOs)
    • RefControl (forge referer by default)
    I wonder what's blocking it. Maybe I'll create another VM and start with a clean Firefox install.
     
  10. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    Before you do anything drastic, just leave the tab up & try browsing a few sites momentarily in the other tab, particularly sites like Reuters or TV Guide sites which have a lot of trackers. You should notice something eventually. Trust me.
     
  11. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    I guess there's no need for a new install :D

    It's just that you've effectively blocked whatever the add-on is capable of tracking at the moment.

    The only ones I see are Google-related, and quantserve. I allow quantserve because stackexchange sites seems to work "better" with it allowed!
     
  12. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    BTW, does this add-on have any sort of favicon in the tab? I'm just having a blank :(
     
  13. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    It's a hollow circle in a square.
     
  14. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    I just visited Reuters and TV Guide, and allowed everything on them temporarily with NoScript. Still I see nothing on the Collusion tab. It's probably the add-ons (and browsing via nested VPNs, maybe).
     
  15. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    I see that in the add-on bar but I want it in the tab so that I can recognize it when I pin the tab.

    Meanwhile, I've been looking at the Export Graphic option. The export opens in a new tab as a long line of text but it can be manipulated into human-readable form with some effort in a text-editor that allows syntax-highlighting:
    Code:
    "youtube.com":{"referrers":{"zdnet.com":[251914,"text/html;charset=utf-8"],"abine.com":[4746796,"application/x-shockwave-flash"]},"visited":true},
    
    This part indicates that I visited ("visited":true) youtube.com from zdnet.com and abine.com.
    Code:
    "quantserve.com":{"referrers":{"askubuntu.com":[1153997,null,"application/x-javascript"],"stackexchange.com":[1545349,null],"ostatic.com":[2343174,null]},"visited":false},
    
    This part indicates that askubuntu, stackexchange and ostatic linked to quantserve.com but that I didn't visit quantserve.com myself ("visited":false).

    At least that's what I think for now!
     
  16. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Would you be kind enough to post the url of the favicon?
     
  17. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    And what does "Trusted front-ends (comma-separated list)" mean o_O That's from the add-on page.
     
  18. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    You could be right. My guess is that you have effectively stopped any tracking with your set-up. I wasn't getting anything for a while until I realised I could allow certain things to run by using RequestPolicy in conjunction with NoScript.

    Collusion has given me an insight into who's tracking me & how I can control that by tweaking NoScript with RequestPolicy. I think that this could be a very useful & popular extension even if just for educational purposes. I'm impressed with it so far.
     
  19. happyyarou666

    happyyarou666 Registered Member

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    pretty neat little addon gotta say , have quite a few halo with blue circle icons connected to eachother , not sure what that would matter thou xD, since ive already got tracking disabled in firefox options and abp(fanboy's ultimate list, malwares domain ,https everywhere, WOT ,betterprivacy, bitdefender trafficlight, beef taco, google optimization disabled all ads
     
  20. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    If you have a lot of tabs, I find that this (incorrectly spelled ;) ) extension to beautifully help me distinguish tabs.
     
  21. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    In 'Customise' mode drag the icon from the add-on bar into the 'customise palette' then drag it into the GUI. I've tried this (on Windows) & it works.
     
  22. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Thank you but I'm just puzzled about the non-appearance of this particular favicon. I've located it on my hard disk but I've now to figure out how to stick it where it should be!

    Overall, I think this add-on may not be of much use to Wilders' members given their awareness.

    I'm now trying to figure out if I can white-list a couple of trackers ... o_O
     
  23. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    I can't get a favicon for this site on my notebook with Firefox (32 bit). SeaMonkey gets a favicon on any of my computers & so does Waterfox.

    Possibly, I'll have to trial it a bit more before I decide on whether it's a keeper or not. I think it's a great idea though.

    Speaking of icons, if you run RequestPolicy, remember to allow 'jid-f9uj2thwoam5gq-at-jetpack' otherwise you won't see the icons on the Collusion diagram.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  24. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    It's eye-opening that's for sure. The extent of the tracking is really mind-boggling.

    The comment upthread about it being our computers these companies are putting trackers on (cookies and such) is very important. It's like companies silently having a way to put trackers in your home or automobile and watching every move you make. The consent to put these trackers on our computers is given only by being marketed to death to visit a website; only to be mugged and our computers outfitted with high-tech spying and extremely sophisticated tracking objects.

    The article in The Atlantic is a must-read. Excellent journalism. Ronjor posted the link in another thread. Here it is again:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/technolo...-companies-are-tracking-me-on-the-web/253758/
     
  25. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    One difference (of many) between Ghostery and Collusion is that the latter shows only actual tracking occurring and not the tracking possible. In other words ...

    Let's say you've managed to effectively managed to disable all tracking associated with visiting a particular site.
    Then, Collusion won't show any tracking but
    Ghostery will still list the trackers that could have been active if they weren't disabled.

    Correct?
     
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