Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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CULater
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Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by CULater » Tue May 15, 2018 9:07 am

As we've recently learned from Facebook, we are silently being hunted and exposed to thousands of internet predators who are trying to pick our pockets and influence our behavior. It's a little scary to learn what happens invisibly when we're out there browsing around:
Dissect how such systems work, and it’s easy to be outraged. When you load a website, it sends a series of requests to other web domains to auction your eyeballs to the highest bidders. The number of intermediaries involved changes with every page load, but on a recent visit, the homepage for one popular U.S.-based news site sent 20 requests to 10 ad exchanges, each of which likely offered the space to hundreds of advertisers. It also set 47 cookies with unique tracking IDs, many of which log user data such as location, gender, age, and likes and dislikes based on browsing behavior. These data give advertisers a sense of how valuable you might be as a customer, and therefore how much to bid to show you an ad. When one of the advertisers wins the auction, an ad appears on your screen. The whole process takes less than a tenth of a second
https://www.bloomberg.com/businessweek

Don't know about you, but I think it's very important to combat this silent erosion of privacy and human dignity. One weapon is ad blockers; maybe there are other things as well. Tech gurus: tell me about ad blockers and other protective tech, how they work, and which ones are the best ones for fighting back.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

bert09
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by bert09 » Tue May 15, 2018 9:18 am

I use uBlock Origin & Privacy Badger.

They both do slightly different things - the first is for ads, the second is for tracking cookies and sites that embed in others (i.e. the Facebook like button) that can be used to track you across sites.

revert
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by revert » Tue May 15, 2018 9:19 am

What platform(s) do you use - desktop operating system, browser, any mobile devices, etc?

The options vary because each environment exposes different hooks to build an ad blocker.

JBTX
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by JBTX » Tue May 15, 2018 9:34 am

I don’t think an ad blocker enhances your privacy. It just blocks the ad.

likegarden
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by likegarden » Tue May 15, 2018 9:35 am

I once clicked by accident on an ad by Lending Tree while on CNN, and my PC crashed, cost me trouble and $125. That showed me that advertisers do not know which viruses are contained in their ads, and from then on I have Ad Block Plus. I am not entering any internet site when they require me to not use ADP. Otherwise do not enter questionable internet sites, do not open Emails from unknown senders. We do the same to phone calls, do not pick up from unknown callers.

ssquared87
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by ssquared87 » Tue May 15, 2018 9:45 am

JBTX wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:34 am
I don’t think an ad blocker enhances your privacy. It just blocks the ad.
That’s not exactly true. The ad blockers stop the ads from loading, which also stops them from loading cookies onto your machine. Besides the cookie, there is some sort of tracker embedded in a single pixel within the add. The tracker knows your browser, IP address physical location and info about your computer and screen

Emails sometimes have these trackers as well. There’s a chrome extension you can get that will show you whether the email has a tracker and it blocks the trackers ability to work. It’s called PixelBlock

skjoldur
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by skjoldur » Tue May 15, 2018 11:20 am

Duplicate
Last edited by skjoldur on Tue May 15, 2018 11:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by TheTimeLord » Tue May 15, 2018 11:28 am

CULater wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:07 am
I think it's very important to combat this silent erosion of privacy and human dignity.
I think you are being a touch dramatic. Personally, I don't think pop up ads which are easily blocked are any more an assault on my dignity than a broadcast TV ad or product placement in a TV show or movie. But if you disagree perhaps you can use the quote below. BTW, they have been tracking the coupons they mail you through bar codes for decades figuring out the exact coupon amount that would make you run to the store like a pavlovian dog and buy a product.

We come here with no peaceful intent, but ready for battle, determined to avenge our wrongs and set our country free ~ William Wallace
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Pajamas
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by Pajamas » Tue May 15, 2018 12:14 pm

Here's some very basic information:

https://www.consumerreports.org/digital ... adblocker/

More advanced information on particular topics:

https://www.eff.org/work

Start by choosing a browser and using settings on that. For instance, Google allows you to opt out of personalized advertising. You can block tracking of your location. You can choose which cookies you allow and which ones to block and whether to keep them permanently or temporarily. You should also look at the settings on sites you visit such as Facebook.

I use Adblock Plus, HTTPS Everywhere, and Privacy Badger, among others.

If you are really concerned about your privacy, you need to think about the way you access the internet and use a VPN because many ISPs monitor your traffic.

CULater
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by CULater » Tue May 15, 2018 2:23 pm

revert wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:19 am
What platform(s) do you use - desktop operating system, browser, any mobile devices, etc?

The options vary because each environment exposes different hooks to build an ad blocker.
I am using a Mac and usually use Safari browser but can use Chrome if it would be better.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

revert
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by revert » Tue May 15, 2018 2:37 pm

CULater wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 2:23 pm
I am using a Mac and usually use Safari browser but can use Chrome if it would be better.
Safari has an excellent API for ad blocking - it's very efficient compared to how they usually need to be implemented in Chrome/Firefox, and it doesn't give any data back to the ad block creator (eg. pages visited).

Wipr (https://giorgiocalderolla.com/index.html) is my favorite, both for Safari on a Mac (free) and Safari on iOS ($2). The dev is very responsive and it's essentially the smallest extension you can build around easylist (https://easylist.to). Most other blockers are either stale and never updated (eg. 1Blocker), have dubious morals (Ghostery, Adblock Plus, uBlock).

For Chrome, uBlock Origin (not uBlock) is decent.

tedgeorge
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by tedgeorge » Tue May 15, 2018 2:49 pm

This site has a number of suggestions depending on how layered you like your tinfoil hat! Some good suggestions and some that will bring your internet experience to a crawl as everything is blocked in your browser... :|

https://www.privacytools.io/

Some of these will drive you crazy as things that used to work just don't anymore.

Loik098
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by Loik098 » Tue May 15, 2018 3:59 pm

Not what you're asking for, but I believe your question is answered better by figuring out what you're doing to train your mind, and not by finding an app or blocker to prevent you from acting inappropriately or impulsively:

1) Severely limit the sharing of personal details online. If you feel the need to share pictures or activities on social media, limit the sharing only to family, and (personal opinion) keep the sharing of your kids' photos/activities/etc out of public internet viewing until they are old enough to have the choice to share on their own. (Digital exposure is and will be a big deal, and they should have control over their own identity/history.) If you can't do this and feel the need for added attention, ask yourself why you need the "attention" from others who really don't care about the mundane details of your life and probably look only because they're bored.

2) Don't click on ads of any kind. Ever. If you have a spending problem or a boredom problem, work on those. Fix the root of the problem, don't just put a band-aid on it. Study marketing tactics: people who make spending decisions based on the pricing/sales signing in a brick & mortar store are the same ones who click on ads on the internet.

3) Realize and accept that the privacy concern is a losing battle. Protect your most important information (freeze credit, etc) but understand that the pace of technology is beyond your control. If thieves/hackers/whoever want your information, they will ultimately find a way to get it. Practice safe habits, but don't be surprised when a hack/data breach occurs. If one cannot accept this, one shouldn't use the internet....but even then, it may not matter.

nyclon
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by nyclon » Tue May 15, 2018 4:11 pm

ad blockers actually are some of the worst offenders in tracking you. they sell your data to advertisers to further target you. they're trojan horses. https://www.wired.com/2016/03/heres-how ... kes-money/

try this blocker and see how many companies are tracking you. it is likely over 100. https://www.ghostery.com/

in general, use incognito or private tabs to reduce the amount of cookies tracking you.

advertisers routinely purchase your offline user data to match to their online user data. for example, i had a friend tell me yesterday that at checkout while buying lunch, the merchant pulled up their phone number from an app which tied it to his credit card swipe.

europe has it right with its GDPR regulations which go into effect may 25th: http://www.adweek.com/digital/what-bran ... bout-gdpr/. But, the caveat is that the GDPR gives giants like amazon, google and facebook more control over your data; to the extent of furthering the monopolies in digital advertising.

edit: so everyone's aware - our mobile devices each have a device ID. device IDs are how digital advertising and tracking work - the nuance here is big when compared to desktop. with desktops you can clear your cookies. device IDs are tied to the device, so once someone has yours, it can be mapped sort of as long as you use that device.

the big thing in advertising is cross device targeting. there are many companies looking to triangulate who you are. they'll try to track you from desktop to mobile device to tv. they do this by creating massive mapping tables. amazon, google and facebook can easily do this because you're logged in to their services across these devices - which is why they are winning the advertising game.

it's great that you want to go off the grid, but it won't work especially if you're using any of those three giants. that's why their stocks are quickly rising and just last quarter amazon generated $2bn in ad revenue and is ultra focused on that part of its business. they know where we are and what we're doing. all. the. time.
Last edited by nyclon on Tue May 15, 2018 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RetiredAL
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by RetiredAL » Tue May 15, 2018 5:27 pm

tedgeorge wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 2:49 pm

... depending on how layered you like your tinfoil hat!
+1

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David Jay
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by David Jay » Tue May 15, 2018 5:28 pm

I like the Brave browser for Windows and iOS (using it now on my iPad). Blocks ads, pop-ups and such. When I first started using it, it was so weird that the whole right-hand side of most web pages was blank.
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SrGrumpy
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by SrGrumpy » Tue May 15, 2018 5:47 pm

Ghostery was touted in similar threads, but people seem to have gone cold on that because of advertising ties. It's hard to stay abreast of such things. I use duckduckgo, though I miss Google Chrome. We're all just rats in a cage.

novemberrain
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Re: Now that we know we're just digital prey, tell me about ad blockers and other apps and which ones are best

Post by novemberrain » Thu May 17, 2018 8:26 pm

Adblocker will definitely help because your tracking information is not sent back to the tracking servers. But your ISP could still be spying on you. To deter that, you will need a VPN

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