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[liberationtech] FB-like "Twitter-connect" soon. How can we avoid all this tracking?

Sarah A. Downey sarah at getabine.com
Fri May 25 05:35:29 PDT 2012


I'm writing to suggest a tech solution.  I'm an attorney and privacy
analyst at an online privacy startup in Boston called Abine<http://abine.com/>,
and we developed a tracker-blocking browser add-on called
DoNotTrackPlus<http://abine.com/dntdetail.php>(DNT+) with unique
capabilities around social button tracker blocking.  My
response contains elements of shameless pluggery, but it's so relevant to
the OP's call for a solution that I had to weigh in.

DNT+ stops tracking in 3 ways:  1), by blocking Javascript requests; 2), by
broadcasting the Do Not Track HTTP header <http://donottrack.us/> (it isn't
mandatory that sites actually adhere to the request, although more of them
have come out in support of it, like Twitter did last week); and 3),
setting opt-out cookies for NAI-member ad
networks<http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp>.
It blocks social button tracking by default by cutting off the Javascript
requests that build the buttons themselves, so it's a more aggressive--and
also successful--method than simply broadcasting the passive Do Not Track
HTTP header and hoping that whatever site you're visiting adheres to it.

What really sets DNT+ apart, though, is that it safely rebuilds social
buttons with identical placeholders.  This means that you'll still see
social buttons on web pages like normal, but they won't be tracking you.
You can still use them, but your choice to do so necessarily re-enables
tracking.  It's *your *choice, however, not Twitter's or Facebook's or
whatever other social network's.  Of course, whatever info you choose to
share with social networks is exempt from DNT+'s tracking protection.

We're completely dedicated to privacy, so don't collect or track anything
when you get DNT+ (unlike some other companies with ties to and funding
from advertising companies).  It has no ability to collect data about what
sites you visit or any other web behavior. The tool can save your personal
settings and preferences, but those are stored locally on your computer and
are not visible to us.  You can verify the fact that DNT+ doesn’t track you
by using an app that monitors the requests made for your computer's
information throughout the day.  One example of an app like this is Live
HTTP Headers<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/live-http-headers/>;
we have no affiliation with whoever makes it.  Our software makes 1 request
per day to your computer to ask our servers for updates on new
tracker-blocking rules. You will be able to see that one request and what
it entails; there is no further communication or transfer of information.

You can also see in part A of our privacy
policy<http://abine.com/privacypolicy.php>that "Abine will not track,
store or transmit to any server or third party,
information regarding users' behavioral data (to include web browsing
activity), nor will we "deliver or help others deliver any targeted
advertising to users" (part C).  You can also check out our privacy
blog<http://www.abine.com/blog/>(which I write) for more on our
pro-privacy standpoints.

We have a freemium model. Our mission is to give consumers control back
over their private information online. Building tools for consumers that
improve privacy is all we do. DNT+ is our free product, and it will always
be free. Our focus is to make DNT+ a great product that people love, and by
doing so, we hope that some people will like it enough to want to upgrade
to paid products that offer additional privacy protection, such as our
subscription service, DeleteMe
<http://www.abine.com/deletemedetail.php>(and we've even posted a
free, DIY set of instructions for that
process <http://abine.com/optouts.php>).

I hope that you find this useful, and please email me if you have any
questions, comments, or suggestions.

Happy Friday,

-Sarah

On Fri, May 25, 2012 at 7:32 AM, <liberationtech at lewman.us> wrote:

> On Fri, May 25, 2012 at 02:33:06PM +0700, unclezzzen at gmail.com wrote 4.1K
> bytes in 103 lines about:
> : Even if the situation doesn't escalate in the future, like buttons
> : are already spying on you /today/ (not on me, because I don't have a
> : facebook account, but pretty soon twitter will be on my tail).
>
> I believe you are being tracked, even without a facebook
> account. You are just 'anonymous user the dod' in some distributed
> database at facebook. Maybe they aggregate this data, maybe they
> throw it away after some period of time (hours, days, weeks, years). See
>
> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/18/1429223/facebook-is-building-shadow-profiles-of-non-users
> as an example. Twitter, google, facebook, and others all have the capacity
> to do this with ease.
>
> And just because you clear some cookies and log out of facebook, twitter,
> etc, doesn't mean they stop tracking you. Here's the facebook example,
>
> https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/10/facebook%E2%80%99s-hotel-california-cross-site-tracking-and-potential-impact-digital-privacy
> .
>
> And here's a couple of articles on how to track you without using cookies
> or IP addresses,
>
> http://www.jasonmorrison.net/content/2010/three-ways-sites-can-track-visitors-without-cookies/and
>
> http://www.jasonmorrison.net/content/2010/three-ways-sites-can-track-visitors-without-cookies-part-2/
> .
>
> --
> Andrew
> pgp 0x6B4D6475
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-- 
*Sarah A. Downey*
Privacy Analyst  |  Attorney
Abine, The Online Privacy Company
t:  @SarahADowney  |  p:  800.928.1987
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