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Prevent tracking of websites visited

5106 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Jul 9, 2011 1:22 PM by Camelot RSS
torchlake@me.com Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 9, 2011 10:22 AM

I read somewhere that it's possible to prevent the tracking of websites I visit.  Can't remember what it said though. Can anyone help?  Thanks!

MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Nick Baldwin Level 2 Level 2 (230 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 9, 2011 11:39 AM (in response to torchlake@me.com)

    You can enable the Private Browsing setting under the Safari menu. This is not a permanent setting, the next time Safari is opened it will have defaulted back and will need to be done again if required.

  • Tony T1 Level 6 Level 6 (8,125 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 9, 2011 12:59 PM (in response to torchlake@me.com)

    Are you referring to Ghostery

    https://extensions.apple.com/ -> Security

     

    Ghostery

    EVIDON, Inc.

    Ghostery helps you detect the third party page elements on a website, learn about the companies tracking you behind the scenes, and control your interactions with those companies by blocking scripts, images and iframes.


  • Camelot Level 8 Level 8 (45,670 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 9, 2011 1:22 PM (in response to torchlake@me.com)

    'Tracking' at what level?

     

    It's easy to tell your browser to 'forget' sites you visit - in this way it won't store cookies, logins, etc. for the sites, and the sites won't appear in your browser history. This is useful for preventing someone (boss, girlfriend, etc.) looking at your machine and seeing where you've been.

     

    However, you can't stop the web sites you visit from tracking you - at least at some level.

    Sure, without cookies they can't definitively tie subsequent visits back to you, but they will at least know that someone from your IP address accessed certain pages at a certain time/date. Of course your boss/girlfriend/etc. won't have access to this, but law enforcement agencies (with the appropriate warrants/subpoenas) can.

     

    There's a little-supported development called 'Do Not Track' which is a special tag added to the request by the browser that asks the remote site not to track the user, and only store the minimal amount of data necessary for statistical/reporting purposes but implementation is browser-dependent (IIRC, IE9 and FIrefox support it, as does the next release of Safar, but I don't think Chrome does) and even more importantly, support is spotty on the server side (it's unknown how many sites honor the 'Do Not Track' request, so even if you use it there's no guarantee that they'll not track you).

     

    All the above is moot, anyway, if someone's on your LAN sniffing the network - anyone between you and the remote site can see what's going on. This even means your LAN administrator or your ISP (although, again, warrants/subpoenas, etc may be required there). The only way to avoid that is to use SSL (if the remote site supports it) since that encrypts the request and reply, but even then the sniffer can see where you're going, even if they can't quite tell which pages you viewed.

     

    Tools such as Ghostery add a degree of anonymity but don't go thinking they'll make you invisible.

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