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Opt Out From Online Behavioral Advertising By Participating Companies (aboutads.info)
110 points by jharohit on Mar 30, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 73 comments

Gives me some confidence in uBlock & Privacy Badger... The first time I ran it there was 1 site tracking me (adbrain).. I adjusted my PB settings accordingly and got 0. It's a useful site for calibrating those tools!


If you're going to the trouble of running Privacy Badger and uBlock, I would have to recommend going the further step and getting Self-Destructing Cookies.

Is there a comparable plugin for Chrome? I currently have Tab Cookies, but it doesn't seem to clear local storage.

If you're concerned about tracking, don't use a browser that was created by a tracking company. :)

Google doesn't believe in privacy and they don't want you to be able to block tracking. Just look at the Android permissions system for an example.

Also, Firefox is generally faster than Chrome from a user's perspective, because Chrome is optimized to send you to the Google Search results pages where you're supposed to click cleverly-disguised ads on your way to your destination. In contrast, Firefox is designed to send you directly to where you want to go. Try it for a while to see what I mean.

(I hope that someone will write a script to compare the amount of time wasted by Chrome's pushing people to Google search results vs. the fast search experience on Firefox where ctrl-l gets you fast, accurate suggestions and ctrl-k gets you search suggestions.)

Also, Firefox for Android is the only mobile browser that lets you use add-ons, and adblockers can save over 70% of bandwidth. Self-destructing cookies works on the mobile version too.

I wrote Vanilla Cookie Manager years ago to clear cookies. I've always wanted to clear local storage as well but they have left me hanging since 2011:


These comments: "I just want to be able to manage my privacy using Chrome extensions."

Why are people who are concerned about privacy using a browser created by a company that doesn't believe in privacy? You have no privacy options with Chrome on Android (at all) either. Firefox offers a lot of privacy protection out of the box, and you can use add-ons on the mobile version.

Don't know I'm afraid. I wish someone would build something with a better UI for iOS. At the moment I use 1Blocker with an explicit whitelist and it's a PITA

you may also consider to switch on: Settings -> Show advanced settings -> Privacy -> Content settings -> Block third-party cookies and site data.

Be careful, some sites/services don't function correctly without that set.

Such as? It's been years since I allowed third party cookies and I've never noticed any issues.

Amazon Payments will not work with third party cookies turn off. PayPal actually works better than Amazon in that regards.

I've never had an issue with amazon payments (mostly through humble bundle) and I always have third party cookies turned off.

I tried disabling it around 2003 and had tons of problems with payment processors (using iFrames) and shared authentication schemes.

But after just researching it, it appears things may have improved. Apple made the default for Safari to block third party cookies, so if you want to be Mac/iPhone compatible you de-facto have to not break.

13 years ago?

Yes, some of us have been doing this for a long time.

I've had problems viewing "private" Vimeo videos with 3rd party cookies blocked

any downsides to this?

I've been blocking 3rd party cookies for over a year and haven't noticed any downsides or broken websites.

Google+ Notifications don’t work on any Google sites except for plus.google.com (so you can’t view your notifications on other sites).

But that’s it.

Thanks guys. Enabled!

Was running just Ghostery; 126 trackers. Finally came around to installing Adblock Plus; 10 trackers. The advertising industry really needs to pull itself together.

What's your reason for running both uBlock & Privacy Badger?

I'm curious about this as well; wouldn't an appropriate filter for uBlock Origin eliminate the need for Privacy Badger, except to detect new things to block?

Is there any legitimate use for third-party cookies (which is all this seems to analyze)? I disabled third-party cookies years ago and I have never noticed any negative side effects at all.

I thought I disabled ads in Safari by selecting, under cookies and website data, "allow from current website only". But new cookies from domains I've never visited keep spawning. What am I doing wrong?

It's because unbeknownst to you, the sites you visit are requesting javascript or a tracking pixel from these other domains.

I'm not sure, but I have had web sites I need to use like my bank (a large well-known multi-national bank) complain when I browse in private mode. It seems to work anyway, but it tells me several times that things might not work unless I turn off private mode. I don't know if I'm lucky, or if they're just lying to get me to accept trackers.

Private mode allows cookies, but deletes them when the session ends.

I've had third-party cookies disabled for ~five years and noticed no problems.

People don't care. It is funny that smart people don't care about tech and ad companies violating their privacy by collecting data and profiting from it. But they have an issue with the government doing it to protect them. Perhaps has something to do with the fact that silicon valley's success is based on the advertising business model and violation of people's privacy.

Someone's going to try to sell me something I'm susceptible to buying? So what.

Authorities don't collect data on you to protect you, they are ostensibly doing it to protect other citizens from you.

One of the reasons that "smart" people object to this, is that it could also limit their ability to play a leadership role in civic life, if there are people in positions of authority with different political philosophies or, even worse, who are outright corrupt or dishonest.

Besides the obvious examples of abuse like the Nixon administration, I suspect there are very few counties in the country that don't have at least one case of someone in a sheriff department, school board, city council, etc that has been caught using their rather limited access to information about local citizens for the purpose of staying in power or for some form of personal gain.

This data should ideally be protected and owned by the individuals themselves - not the government, not the ad companies, not Google, not Facebook. As an individual who owns my data, I should have a right to decide who/when/how accesses my data.

More than a question of privacy, this is a question of next-generation user experience. If as an individual, my data from uber, google, facebook, visa, amazon is all in one place I can give selective anonymized access to it to different services that can leverage the collective data to provide better user experiences to me.

For me, it has a lot to do with the fact that I have more to fear from the government collecting a lot of information about me than I do from having ad companies collecting information about me.

I don't know about you, but I just assume that the government is a client of the ad companies and is buying data about me from them.

I'm the same. I think a big reason is trust as you mention. The other is consequence, and significance of consequence.

If a company abuses a peoples collected data they are likely just spamming them or something similar to sell me some product, and they can expect repercussions. If a government is abusing data there is likely nefarious activities happening challenging a countries democracy and little consequence to be easily had. Very different end results and motivations.

Or perhaps it's because people don't trust that the government is interested in protecting them. If a private company uses the information it has on you maliciously at least you have some recourse - a competitor, or the justice system.

When the powers in charge decide to use your data against you because they don't like your political stances, who is going to protect you?

But at the moment, it is just some laws that are protecting you from this malicious behavior by a non-benevolent government. If such a government comes to power, why would they follow this law.

The real solution should be to use encryption so that only you as a consumer holds the keys to your data. The reason the tech industry will never implement something like this is because it will kill their profit machines - not because it is not possible to implement this.

I think it has to do with the fact that the government can imprison you years, or for life. Even if you were breaking a law on accident, or unknowingly.

It's a matter of power imbalance.

I don't think it's that simple. I believe people do care if they're getting tracked, for what reason, and for the possible repercussions.

We can compare the issues between a marketing on Facebook re-targeting you and the government recording your text messages. In one scenario, your preferences are exposed and used to present you with an advertisment to buy a good. In the other scenario, you can be analyzed for whether or not you've committed a crime or are about to commit a crime.

The two scenarios have vastly different consequences with varying levels of mindshare for thr general public.

Compare these scenarios: 1 a cop is passing by your house and sees you commit a murder. 2 government finds out from your phone's GPS data + public camera face recognition that you committed a murder 3 you admit to a murder on phone with an accomplice

Why is one way of collecting evidence any better than the other. If you commit a crime, you should be convicted. Just because you are able to hide certain types of evidence today does not make the crime justified.

What makes scenario 2 egregious is how easy it would be to use that evidence to implicate someone for parking nearby the victim's house while the real killer took the bus. That kind of mass data collection lets you get really convenient answers from the data, and I don't trust the police to do the additional work of physically placing me at the scene if they can get a prosecutor to railroad me using my gps data.

How is that any different to the neighbor seeing you park your car in that street and not seeing the actual killer. Is there a difference in whether this evidence got collected by a person or a camera? What you do with this(and all other collected evidence) comes later. Eq - what if the government hires millions of police and place them on every intersection - that is acceptable, but having a camera on every intersection is not?

The issue is the opposite. It's a problem this data is collected for innocent people.

It is indeed very similar to the government hiring millions of police and placing them everywhere (but even worse!). This effects society negatively and restricts freedom of expression due to the very looming presence of law enforcement everywhere.

> It is funny that smart people don't care about tech and ad companies violating their privacy by collecting data and profiting from it.

[citation needed]

Also define "smart."

The issue is that advertising companies do not lie about why they track me - it's about them getting more revenue and that is ok with me. But I'm not so sure about the governmental espionage protection thingy.

How much can you care about? Between this, the environment, government tracking, eating well, exercising, spending time with family, friends, and many other things, you only have so much time and brain to devout to each subject.

It is easy for tech guys to talk about this, they are already involved and understand what is going on.

Facebook just broke their site if you have Facebook's social media plugins blocked. Unclear if this is an anti-Ghostery measure or they just screwed up. Their code uses "require", which is not standard JavaScript, and whatever loads "require" needs a social media plugin.

Just finished scanning - seems like 126 ad companies where tracking me for targetted ads! When I tried opting out, only 76 acknowledged. Just very very troubling..

I think the 126 is all companies participating in the program, not necessarily the ones that are actively tracking your browser. The second tab contains the companies tracking you. Luckily I only had 9 and was able to opt-out of all of them.

technically yeah - but a lot of amongst the 126 were showing a status of "No status available" (or something along those lines). 126 seems like quite a low number for it to be the TOTAL number of participating companies - I could be wrong though..

Are you running an ad blocker? It seems to interfere with the status checks, since it blocks all traffic to the networks in question.

Try temporarily disabling your ad blocker and trying again.

I'm on a new machine and did limited browsing before installing uBlock and PrivacyBadger. Only 5 companies were tracking my browser (I didn't try opting out yet).

Edit - 3 of the 5 companies accepted my opt-out request.

Between Privacy Badger, Self-Destructing Cookies, and AdBlock Pro (and a browser cache which wipes itself on close), a grand total of zero trackers. Woo woo!

The page won't even load for me, that's good, right? Paranoid mode FTW!

Turning off NoScript and Random Agent Spoofer doesn't help. Still running: uBlock, HTTPS Everywhere, Disconnect, and BetterPrivacy.

HTTPS Everywhere (Firefox) is blocking this. I get the "third party cookies blocked" message. When I disabled HTTPS Everywhere, it worked.

Not sure about Firefox, but in Chrome you can just disable the About Ads (partial) rule:


Same for Chrome.

and how many did you get?

I had nine. On another computer, I had eight (less Yahoo).

Both computers have uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and the built-in Firefox tracking protection.

Also fun -- see what Yahoo thinks your interest are: https://aim.yahoo.com/aim/us/en/optout/

'Travel > Destinations > Middle East'

So I can assume Yahoo isn't the one watching this particular bit of my internet traffic...

0 sites with http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ (it blocks requests at OS level with /etc/hosts)

Privoxy raised a warning, not letting me go there without clicking through. So I did.

uBlock origin prevented the site from loading anything interesting, and Self-Destructing Cookies means it isn't leaving anything behind.

I think I'm fine, but how can I know for sure?

Based on other comments, seems like uBlock does the trick somewhat. But to be sure - just uninstall both and then try again?

Note that the opt-out option provided only opts out of tracking-based advertising, not of browser tracking.

To avoid tracking by ad companies use uBlock, Ghostery, Privacy Badger, etc.

Our project can help out here too... With Metiix Blockade (free as in beer) we can see every request that is blocked, what url caused the blocked request as well as protect each device in the network from tracking, ads, and malware related websites.

I think you can estimate how many companies are tracking you by noticing how many things that you had to disable to get this page to work.

Three sites were tracking me apparently, and that's with uBlock Origin active. But I opted out of them regardless.

Kind of a misleading headline. Look through the list of third-party cookies in your browser if you want to see who is tracking you. This is a list of ad companies who have agreed to offer an option not to track you.

Yes, the submitted title ("Find out which ad companies are tracking you") broke the HN guidelines, which ask people to keep original titles unless they are misleading or linkbait.


And how do I know that they actually don't?

They have to abide to this policy otherwise they probably get kicked out of the advertising organisations. http://www.aboutads.info/enforcement - You can report any misbehaviour here.

This does not mean that you will not see ads from them it means that they should delete all profiling information that they have about you and serve you just shitty regular ads.

I'd imagine users of cookie trackers might also try to track you through other means.

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