Tag Archives: privacy

Ghostery went open source!

Ghostery is a browser extension that provides users of the interwebs with enhanced privacy as it blocks creepy crawlies hiding in webpages, tracking you, following everything you click or visit. Ghostery has been a widely used tool by users who care about privacy and then Cliqz bough them some time ago. And people had some concerns over what they do with all the info on trackers and how they actually make the money to pay their programmers. Well, worry no more, Ghostery has gone open source!

Anyone can check its source code now and inspect how it works and what and how it transmits the data to Cliqz, ensuring transparency and potential forks as well as accelerated development with larger base of contributors. It’s great news for everyone who value their privacy. If you don’t use it yet, check it out. It supports all major browsers and it can be found on extensions/add-ons webpages of all these browsers.


Stay away from Onavo Protect VPN app!

Recently, Facebook started promoting Onavo Protect VPN as means of protecting user privacy when browsing online for smartphones. Without disclosing that Facebook owns Onavo company since 2013! I find it absolutely disgusting that they weren’t disclosing this even back then and not surprised they still haven’t done the same today.

Now, ask yourself, Facebook, the cancer for privacy that it is, would you trust them routing ALL your traffic through their VPN “pipeline” to “protect” your privacy? I sure as hell wouldn’t, I have all their shit blocked on all webpages and stay as far away from their services as possible. I can’t really say anything more than to stay away from this shit. It’s sleazy, low and it’s not even protecting anyone’s privacy, it’s just moving literally EVERYTHING you view online through it, served to Facebook on a silver platter. Even data passing through is encrypted, they still see who is visiting what website and that’s already too much. AVOID!

Web of Trust (WOT) privacy scandal

I’m a bit surprised there is nearly no news surrounding this in English news, especially on tech sites, considering the scale and amount of users of WOT that aren’t limited to German market only.

Researchers of German NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk or Northern German Broadcasting) found out that WOT browser add-on was (and as things stand now, still is) gathering user data beyond what they were promising, ranging beyond only visited websites, they are gathering entire user history from browser, usernames, e-mails and more and selling it to 3rd parties. And they are doing this in such sloppy way external researchers were able to identify individuals by accessing open resources from WOT without even illegally (via hack) accessing their servers. You can apparently do it without any of that!

What’s even worse, after researchers asked developers of WOT about these things, all they got back was… silence, pretty much. Just a very vague reply that you can read here. When someone, instead of being open about the issue veils in silence, that’s a sign that something is going on. And nothing good will come from that.

I liked WOT a lot, because it was good resource to identify unknown websites and what experience others had with it. I’m not aware of any other service that has such level of user involvement in user rating and commenting of webpages. But as things stand now, I recommend users to at least block all public views of their ratings in WOT profile. What they’ve transferred to the 3rd party has already been done, but I think blocking will prevent cross-linking of users to the data. Also make sure to delete all cookies in browser under name “mywot” and quite frankly, deleting your WOT profile at this point wouldn’t be a bad idea either considering all the weird things going on around this service.

I now prefer avast! rating add-on (avast! Online Security) which comes with avast! Antivirus which I already use. Chrome users can even install it separately via Chrome Store even without avast! Antivirus. There is no commenting, but it has extra features like tracking blocking and the fact that avast! as company is very open about their product. When there were privacy concerns about it, they instantly provided answers to any questions by users. They also in detail explained how their rating and resource sharing system works and you can even opt out sharing of properly anonymized data with 3rd parties.

More links, mostly in German with greater details. Use Google Translate to read them.

In depth information from the researcher who uncovered all this:


Think whatever you want, but something fishy is going on and I’m not going to stand around as the smell spreads. Until developers come clean, this thing should not be on any computer.

I’ll keep you posted how things develop in the following days or weeks…

Enable global tracking protection in Firefox

As you may know (or not), Firefox has a tracking protection built in since quite few builds back. However, by default, this feature is limited to Private windows only. Enabling it globally will prevent tracking on all webpages. And from the looks of it, it doesn’t seem to affect browsing quality. You will recognize the active protection via displayed shield in the URL address bar. If there is no shield displayed, it means the webpage is not tracking you.

If you want to enable this globally, you can do this in two ways…


Install this add-on and it’ll enable it for you automatically. Since it’s an add-on, it’ll sync itself with you other Firefox installs on other systems, enabling it globally on all your devices.

Manual setting:

Type about:config in the URL bar and hit ENTER key. Confirm the warning and search for privacy.trackingprotection.enabled and double click it to set it to TRUE.

If value doesn’t exist, right click in empty space, select New and then select Boolean. Name it privacy.trackingprotection.enabled and toggle it to TRUE.

This is useful if you want this enabled on individual systems only or not having to install yet another add-on for a simple tweak within advanced settings. It’s up to you 🙂

Additional settings under Privacy:

Type about:config in the URL bar and hit ENTER key. Confirm the warning and search for privacy.trackingprotection.ui.enabled and double click it to set it to TRUE.

If value doesn’t exist, right click in empty space, select New and then select Boolean. Name it privacy.trackingprotection.ui.enabled and toggle it to TRUE.

You will get additional settings within Firefox with this one under Privacy settings where you can easily enable or disable tracking protection.

You can disable tracking protection for individual webpages by clicking the shield and disabling protection. I have just noticed tracking protection removes “Like” and stars ratings from my blog (this one). You can disable the tracking protection if you want to see the ratings for my blog posts. Same applies for other webpages. Unfortunately, there is no way of selectively enabling just specific “trackers” and leaving others blocked. It’s either fully on or off for a certain webpage.

Disable Windows 10 Tracking

I’ve already written about another tool to improve privacy on Windows 10:

But have recently found another tool that essentially does the same thing with few additional things, like the blocking of tracking domains and IP’s.


You can read a very interesting article behind it here:

This tool compliments O&O’s ShutUp 10 nicely, especially the domains and IP’s blocking part. So, I’ve first used O&O ShutUp 10 because it has more granular control and more descriptions for each setting and then use domain/IP blocking in DisableWindows10Tracking tool to finish it off.

Download DisableWindows10Tracking:

O&O ShutUp10 – Windows 10 Privacy Tool

We all know how weird Windows 10 behaves with its data mining. But since we’ll have to eventually switch over, here is a solution. O&O’s ShutUp10 tool that gives you easy way of disabling all the (or at least majority of) data mining or otherwise privacy related crap in Windows 10.

I currently don’t have Windows 10 installed anymore, but the tool is made by a well known German software studio “O&O Software”, better known for their O&O Defrag tool. O&O ShutUp10 requires no installation so you can easily run it without any crap left behind by the tool itself. And it’s free!



There is also another tool with similar functionality. Check it out here: