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Well, so much for “do not track”

You remember I had to refresh Firefox last week, wiping away all my settings and add-ons. NoScript and a few key settings went back on right away and so far, so good. No crashing.

In that quick re-set I made sure that “Do not track” was enabled. I didn’t, however, do anything with cookie management.

Just now I was cruising through Firefox Preferences looking for additional settings to put back to normal and I had to laugh. My browser was infested by hundreds of tracking cookies — so many that I couldn’t wipe them out selectively and keep the “good” cookies that enable quick logins and such. I just had to blow all cookies away and start afresh.

So it’s true what they say and what anyone living in the age of Little Brother should assume: “Do not track” means “Oh, please, Mr. or Ms. Ad-Person; despite the fact that I know you’re going to ignore this plea, I’m still going to go ahead and beg you — beg so very, very humbly on bended knee! — not to track me.”

Firefox is now set where it ought to be. No third-party cookies allowed, period. All other cookies deleted upon exit, except those I explicitly want to keep. During long online sessions I’ll periodically go in and clear cookies that benefit some website more than they benefit me.

The “Do not track” box is still checked. Just because it was easier than unchecking it.

Now off to see if I can install a new ad blocker to replace the sadly compromised (and possibly crash-causing) AdBlockPlus. (UPDATE: I’ve decided to try uBlock Origin. Will let you know how it goes.)


  1. Claire
    Claire January 20, 2016 10:34 am

    Thanks, RW. I think you and I just simultaneously posted. I was updating the blog to say I was going to try uBlock Origin as you made this comment. 🙂

  2. Mr Natural
    Mr Natural January 20, 2016 11:33 am

    For addblocking try Ghostery. It blocks trackers too. I’ve been using it with my Firefox for over a year with excellent results.

  3. Unclezip
    Unclezip January 20, 2016 12:24 pm

    Claire, try Privacy Badger from Electronic Frontier Foundation. Works well, is interactive. I’m showing 11 trackers on this page alone.


  4. Claire
    Claire January 20, 2016 12:25 pm

    Thanks, Mr Natural. Ghostery is a good program, too. But on my system it has caused problems in the past to such an extent that I’ve had to uninstall it (slowing down the system). For most people it works great, though.

  5. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty January 20, 2016 12:36 pm

    I’ll wait to see what you have to say about the unblock thing. I’ve been running adblock plus for a while, also Ghostery, with no problems. I also dump all “cookies” at the end of each session. Have to accept some “third party” cinder cookies occasionally for a site to work, but not often. They get dumped too. I just made up my mind to log in everywhere each time. Use an old check register to record those I don’t use too often. I treat it as an mind/memory exercise. 🙂

  6. MJR
    MJR January 20, 2016 1:31 pm

    Good luck Claire. I’m interested to learn how uBlock does. Right now I’m using Adblock plus in addition to Mass Forget and better Privacy. This group of add-ons seem to be doing the trick.

  7. libertynews
    libertynews January 20, 2016 1:49 pm

    Seconding Privacy Badger from EFF, I also use HTTPS everywhere to make sure https is used as many places as possible.

  8. RW
    RW January 20, 2016 1:55 pm

    The combination of add ons I use is below, have tried others but these seem to work fine with no side effects.
    disconnect, ghostery, ublock, from firefox addons
    https everywhere, privacy badger from
    in preferences, custom settings for history, third party cookies never, clear history when ff closes, keep cookies until ff closes, works for me.
    BTW, seems like I read that Adblock and the + will go away and ublock is the replacement.

  9. Fred
    Fred January 20, 2016 4:31 pm

    Ad Block Plus on Firefox for 3 months now. Still running well. Even loads ad heavy pages faster ’cause the ads aint there. I’m sticking with it. One down side is I can’t find where to set it to auto update the filters. It’s easy to update but you have to remember to do it. It can be disabled for each page so, if you would like to see the lovely sponsors here at Backwoods Home and Living Freedom it’s a snap. And yep, Set Firefox to kill everything upon closing just to be safe.

  10. Mr Natural
    Mr Natural January 20, 2016 7:01 pm

    Oh by the bye, one of the most important steps to browser or smartphone privacy is to disable the geolocation feature. I have done this several years ago in several versions of and machines using Firefox with no problems. Go to:
    I do not see this mentioned much in privacy discussions but I believe it should be step number one.

  11. Steven
    Steven January 21, 2016 11:10 am

    Have you ever tried the Whitehat Aviator browser? Aviator has some blockers already built in and I think it works better than FireFox.

  12. Claire
    Claire January 21, 2016 12:23 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion, Steven. It appears the WhiteHat Aviator browser is dead, and even in its short life it never had a Linux version. If I’m wrong, let me know. Those conclusions were the result of only a cursory search.

    There’s also (alas) some advantage to using some of the “big” browsers, in that you’re always running into cases where you need to “download Program X for [type of browser]” and if it’s not Firefox, Chrome, etc. you’re out of luck unless you can write code. Of the “bigs” Firefox is the only one I’d consider using everyday and on balance I’m still very happy with it.

  13. loki1776
    loki1776 January 21, 2016 2:09 pm

    Another thing I’ve done is to go to about:config and change network.http.sendRefererHeader to zero from its default of 2. This doesn’t stop ads, but it helps keep websites from learning quite so much about my browsing habits. Some websites won’t work when this is set though, some imbedded You-Tube videos, for example.

  14. Kristophr
    Kristophr January 21, 2016 8:22 pm

    I’m using Pale Moon for my browser ( mozilla open source code without the firefox privacy destroying crap ) and Adblock Latitude with to fry the tracking crap.

  15. Kurt
    Kurt January 21, 2016 9:09 pm

    For those who can stand the pain, here’s what I use:

    AdBlock Plus
    Better Privacy

    The last one doesn’t impose any performance or usability penalty, but it is quite informative regarding who’s tracking you.


  16. KiA
    KiA January 22, 2016 9:09 am

    i also recommend Cookie Controler and Self-Destructing Cookies.

    CC allows cookie management per site (i.e. deny, allow 1st party only, per session, etc).
    SDC deletes cookies when the tab is closed. it seems to respect the flagging by CC; i.e. if a site is set to preserve cookies, it will not be removed.

    PS> ublock origin is not affiliated with

  17. capn
    capn January 22, 2016 1:41 pm

    Thanks Mr Natural,

    My Firefox is now not location enabled.


  18. David Haywood Young
    David Haywood Young January 25, 2016 8:55 am

    I’d say responding to this might take a whole book…but I just published it. Possibly evil of me to mention it here, but I figured some of you folks might take an interest. “Take Back Your Privacy: the Barefoot Anarchist’s Guide to Navigating Today’s Digital Landscape.”

    It covers stuff like DNT. And uBlock. And other suggestions above. Plus a lot more. Hundreds of links, actually. It’s kind of a tome. But funny! Maybe.

    Anyway, the Amazon US link is and it’ll be free for five days starting tomorrow.

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