Well , might not be OT , as it's a "home computer" ...
But anyway , I've installed anti-tracking software , Ghostery , but as
soon as I shut the browser down the extension disappears . Apparently
something on my comp is preventing this software from remaining ... to use
it I have to reload every time I shut the browser (Opers) down then re-open
Apparently someone doesn't want tracking blocked and is uninstalling this
software - I tried another blocker and had the same problem . I'm running XP
Pro SP3 on a homebuilt with ASUS mobo , Athlon X2 processor and 2 Gb of RAM
. And this is really pissing me off ...
I am not familiar with Opera, but I know Firefox is another browser with
continued support for XP users. They do have a "Ghostery" add-on and
it's been my experience that Firefox add-ons do not simply disappear.
This has started recently . I had it installed for a while some time ago
with no problems . It just really irritates that "somebody" feels they have
the right to track me , and that they can block my efforts to prevent it .
Big Brother isn't just the gov-goons ...
| This has started recently . I had it installed for a while some time ago
| with no problems . It just really irritates that "somebody" feels they
| the right to track me , and that they can block my efforts to prevent it .
| Big Brother isn't just the gov-goons ...
Did you know that Ghostery does the same thing:
I haven't used it and don't know what might be
going on with your machine. Have you checked
on what processes you have running? If you
run Sysinternals Process Explorer you should be
able to make sense of all listings. (Right-click to
find the executable path.) There's very little that
*needs* to be running.
Maybe a more likely culprit might be compatibility
issues. Do you allow automatic updates? That's always
an invitation to problems. Example: Mozilla started
requiring digital signing of extensions awhile back.
Now older extensions won't install. I have no idea
about Opera, but that scenario seems possible: Opera
updates itself by default. You allow that. Things
break without notice.
You might look here if you're interested in really
dealing with privacy online:
A modest HOSTS file that blocks things like
Doubleclick, Google analytics and Scorecard
Research will eliminate a great deal of tracking.
Disable cookies, or only allow session cookies
that disappear when the browser is closed. There's
no excuse for 3rd-party cookies and there never
was. They directly subvert the security model
that cookies were intended to follow, which is that
no site other than the one you're visiting should
be able to access that site cookie. But 3rd-party
cookie-setters don't need to hack local cookies. They
just set their own at someone else's website! Frames
are also a big problem. Frames allow cross-site
scritping attacks. Frames allow 1st-party cookies
at 3rd-party sites: A Facebook button in a frame
looks exactly like a Facebook button not in a frame.
But in the former case you're actually visiting
facebook.com involuntarily. You're loading a browser
window at facebook.com. 3rd-party images are usually
ads and/or web bug trackers. (Most tracking script
is accompanied by a noscript option to track with a
web bug instead.)
It's a very complex issue. Ghostery is just giving
people the sense that they're getting behind the curtain,
while selling them out. Adblock is the same way. I
haven't used that one either, but I've seen articles
about how they take payments from "respectable"
companies to grant them exceptions. The program
is free. They make their money by selling you out.
Only on the Internet could such bizarre shennanigans
work out successfully.
But actually having a modicum of privacy is
increasingly challenging. A few examples: Opera
is based on Chromium, which is Google spyware.
(See here for details:
Has Opera cleaned up the Chromium code? I don't
know. The tech world has a strange, irrational
history of thinking Google is cute. A surprising number
of techies prefer Chrome and don't seem to mind the
spying. The same has been true with gmail. It started
with techies who were thoroughly suckered by Google's
pretense of "inviting" them to try a perennial beta.
Once all the techies had gmail, others were convinced
it was "cool". How could adware/spyware be "cool"?
It just doesn't make sense.
So there are the questions about Opera. Do you allow
frames and 3rd-party cookies? If so then Facebook
might be following your every move, even if you've
never visited their site. Likewise with Twitter. Do you
block jquery and Google fonts? If you have a status
bar in your browser you'll see those loading at most
websites. The story there is a whole separate issue:
Most webmasters don't really know much about
operating a website and designing pages. At the same
time, interactive pages are all the rage. Google fills
in some of the gaps by offering free script libraries,
free tracking info, free fonts.... They're very clever
about that kind of thing. They provide freebies to
give webmasters what they want without needing
to learn for themselves. The webmasters are thrilled
and don't even realize that they're letting Google
spy on their visitors. (Or if they do, they don't care.
Google's cute.) It's amazing how many pages
now have built-in Google tracking. It can be blocked,
but it's getting increasingly complex. Downloading fonts
has never been safe, anyway. That should be blocked.
But before you can do all that you have to know about
it. What good is it for Ghostery to block Acme Ads if
fonts.google.com, google-analytics.com, etc are receiving
an ongoing log of your travels? Acme might not know
who you are, but Google probably does. For all we
know, Acme might just be a subcontractor selling
It gets worse. Akamai, a giant network backbone
company that sells capacity, started selling tracking
data some time ago. You can't always know when
you're at Akamai, and HOSTS files don't seem to block
it. You might go to Microsoft.com, but then MS is
subcontracting with Akamai to handle traffic, so you
end up going through their system. It turns out
Akamai wanted to get on the sleazebag bandwagon
to make a few extra bucks. How do you stop that?
It's like trying to stop a cable company from knowing
what TV channel you're watching. You can't prevent
the data going through them. The gov't is not likely
to rein that in. They're in the same business. With
things like PRISM in place, and the AT&T scandal over
gov't hacking of the Pacific telephone line, spyware
tech companies are just what the fanatic national
security beancounters ordered. I see no reason to
even consider that Akamai, having already demonstrated
dishonesty, might not be selling data to the gov't.
They've already shown that they consider that a
reasonable business model.
If all of the above seems too complicated then you
have no chance at even reasonable privacy. If you're
in the middle about it -- you want to act but don't
want to live in your cellar surrounded by glowing
screens -- you could do a few simple things:
* Have one browser with frames and script disabled.
Use it when possible. Also block 3rd-party images
if you can tolerate some broken webpages.
* Use NoScript in Firefox to block all but necessary
* Only allow session cookies.
* Set up a HOSTS file.
* Install a firewall if you don't have one. On XP
I use Online Armor v. 126.96.36.199 free. (They later
sold out to another company.) A firewall allows
you to stop outgoing traffic that you didn't
* There's probably no harm in also leaving Ghostery
in place, but they're selling you out. I'd consider
its use to be counterproductive.
LOL good catch there...just using a private browsing tab might be a
better idea, I know with Firefox that's easy to do...
for Opera found this link but it's a few years old
| LOL good catch there...just using a private browsing tab might be a
| better idea, I know with Firefox that's easy to do...
I'm not entirely clear about the details of that, but
my understanding is that it limits cookies and hides
history, so that sites can't do tricky things like check
whether you've been to abc.com by providing a hidden
link and then checking its color.
But that leaves out pretty much all the real privacy
issues with frames, script, web bugs, etc. If the page
loads google-analytics script or scorecard research
web bugs, for instance, they don't need any tricks
to test your history. They already know it, because
they tracked you in nearly all of the other pages
you've visited. They may not know your specific ID in
all cases, but they'll know your IP address.
I suppose if one were really paranoid one could use a proxy server.
Personally, I've been using Linux for all of my on-line transactions...
I'd be a fool to think I was 100% secure...but Linux is certainly a bit
better than Windows.
That said /they/ probably have most of your personal information anyway.
A few years back I took out a new auto-insurance policy and when I got
on the phone I expected I'd have to answer a lot of questions.
Nope, they pretty much had all they needed once they knew my name and
| I suppose if one were really paranoid one could use a proxy server.
That would block some of the tracking. On the
other hand, if you accept 3rd-party images
and/or cookies it won't help.
| Personally, I've been using Linux for all of my on-line transactions...
| I'd be a fool to think I was 100% secure...but Linux is certainly a bit
| better than Windows.
Not in terms of privacy. No difference at all.
| That said /they/ probably have most of your personal information anyway.
| A few years back I took out a new auto-insurance policy and when I got
| on the phone I expected I'd have to answer a lot of questions.
| Nope, they pretty much had all they needed once they knew my name and
That's different. There have been companies for
years, like LexisNexis, that gather data and sell
access to it. Before people were using computers
very much, companies like car dealers were using
them to decide how to sell to you. People choose
not to know that, just as most people have caller
ID but still pretend they didn't know who's calling.
What Terry Coombs is talking about is online
tracking. To my mind that's a little like cellphone
tracking: If you call a car dealer they know a
lot about you and your purchasing/credit history.
But it's much more personal to have access to
what's essentially a tracking collar combined with
a social/retail transaction record.
If you use google, you are tracked anyway. I use an anonymous browser
and I authorize cookies as they are being set. Most are set to expire
when I close the session. I am very selective about the ones I keep.
Correct about Opera NOT being an offshoot of Firefox.
I tried Opera many years ago, (in the 90's). I tried it a few times in
between as their versions grew, and I tried it for the last time around
3 or 4 years ago. I never liked it, I found it had "issues", and one of
them was that it did bizarre things, seemed to eat up lots of resources,
(power) did not always render pages correctly, and worse of all, tended
to crash (all versions).
This is just my opinion based on experience with it, but I would not
recommend it. I think it's a crappy browser.
One other thing I remember is that more than once, after I would
uninstall it, the icons on my desktop would be all screwed up
(scatterred). I dont have any clue why it tampered with my system, but
any program that screws up the operating system is not something I care
to use.... I know for fact it did that icon screwup on Windows98. I cant
recall if it also did that on XP or not. I just decided to never use it
again! I think it's poorly written software.
I'd suggest Firefox, or if you want soemthing that's lighter, K-meleon
and Seamonkey are both worth trying. (One drawback with Seamonkey, is
that there dont appear to be "anyone home", when you try to contact them
by email, and their newsgroup did not allow posting, except for
"members" and I never could figure out how to become a member. Now their
newsgroup is dead.)
One other thing. If you're running XP on an older computer, I'd install
an older version of Firefox. The newer ones seem to use a lot of
resources, at least when I tried version 30 or 32 (cant recall exact
number). I went back to Firefox 18, which works fine on my older laptop
with XP Sp3. Although I like Firefox, I often think they upgrade far too
often.... I think the latest version is 40something.
Older version of FF are available on
That's a nice site, which dont try to mislead you to download other
crap, and their advertising is minimal. Their software is not loaded
with malware either, nor do they have you download an "installer", and
then that installer supposedly installs the program (One practice I
refuse to use).
How to Get Updates for Windows XP from Microsoft until 2019 ...
it's really easy and if you don't want to upgrade to newer versions of
windows or move to linux it's better than nothing. I miss winxp, I
really do. Somethings are better when they are improved, somethings
aren't. For me Win10 would just be a big waste of time and money.
Oh hell, while I'm at it, Linux
| Older version of FF are available on
If there's any trouble with that link, try this one:
Altough the Mozilla people have long been acting
like a commercial company, bent on profits and
trying hard to herd Firefox users into the hands
of their ad-company handlers (first Google and now
Yahoo), Firefox is still officially open source and all
builds are available.
Side note: The development of open source has
gone through interesting turns lately. It started out
that most OSS was rough, unfinished, and often
needed to be compiled. It was more a conversation
between geeks than it was software. As OSS becomes
more common and more polished, it's also becoming
more commercial and more opaque. Firefox and Chromium
are both OSS, as is WebKit. (And for that matter,
So all browsers except IE are technically open source.
Yet choice is very limited and "improvements" tend to
be in the direction of profiteering rather than making the
best product. I now need 6-8 plugins just to make FF
what it was a couple of years ago. And I'm running v. 36.
I've hesitated to update for years now. I never know
what they'll break next. It's much worse for most people.
Anyone not intimately familiar with about:config and
extensions is likely to be stuck with whatever the Mozilla
people put on their plate.
I'm imagining that whenever Linux Torvalds steps down
it may be only weeks before the top brass at Linux
"discover" that what people really want is an ad
platform built into the kernel. :)
They will discuss other browser concerns. Most there seem to be a mix
of Mozilla workers, computer people and non-computer people.
Just don't post through GG as they might get flagged out.
I don't bother with things like anonymous browsing but do delete all but
certain cookies on exit. ad blocker keeps some sites from letting me go
there but screw them.
AdblockPlus, not the same thing, has to be disabled for me to go to
the LATimes crossword puzzle site, but the Washington Post crossword
puzzle site, which looks almost the same including the function menu,
doesn't require disabling.
| AdblockPlus, not the same thing, has to be disabled for me to go to
| the LATimes crossword puzzle site, but the Washington Post crossword
| puzzle site, which looks almost the same including the function menu,
| doesn't require disabling.
A lot of sites are now "sniffing" for that. It's
also selling out its customers. you'd probably be
better off to just use a HOSTS file. I rarely see
ads, but neither do sites block me.
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