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    Microsoft trackers run afoul of DuckDuckGo, get added to blocklist / ArsTechnica · Friday, 5 August - 21:33

Microsoft trackers run afoul of DuckDuckGo, get added to blocklist

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-minded search company, says it will block trackers from Microsoft in its desktop web browser , following revelations in May that certain scripts from Bing and LinkedIn were getting a pass.

In a blog post , DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg says that he's heard users' concerns since security researcher Zach Edwards' thread that "we didn't meet their expectations around one of our browser's web tracking protections." Weinberg says that, over the next week, the company's browser will add Microsoft to the list of third-party tracking scripts blocked by its mobile and desktop browsers, as well as extensions for other browsers.

"Previously, we were limited in how we could apply our 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection on Microsoft tracking scripts due to a policy requirement related to our use of Bing as a source for our private search results," Weinberg writes. "We're glad this is no longer the case. We have not had, and do not have, any similar limitation with any other company."

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    Facebook Is Now Encrypting Links to Prevent URL Stripping / Schneier · Monday, 18 July - 14:49

Some sites, including Facebook, add parameters to the web address for tracking purposes. These parameters have no functionality that is relevant to the user, but sites rely on them to track users across pages and properties.

Mozilla introduced support for URL stripping in Firefox 102 , which it launched in June 2022. Firefox removes tracking parameters from web addresses automatically, but only in private browsing mode or when the browser’s Tracking Protection feature is set to strict. Firefox users may enable URL stripping in all Firefox modes , but this requires manual configuration. Brave Browser strips known tracking parameters from web addresses as well.

Facebook has responded by encrypting the entire URL into a single ciphertext blob.

Since it is no longer possible to identify the tracking part of the web address, it is no longer possible to remove it from the address automatically. In other words: Facebook has the upper hand in regards to URL-based tracking at the time, and there is little that can be done about it short of finding a way to decrypt the information.

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    Apple's grip on iOS browser engines disallowed under latest draft EU rules, in the interests of true competition

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 26 April - 11:25

Apple requires that competing mobile browsers distributed through the iOS App Store use its own WebKit rendering engine, which is the basis of its Safari browser. The result is that Chrome, Edge, and Firefox on iOS are all, more or less, Safari.

Apple's browser engine requirement has vexed web developers, who have been limited to using only the web APIs implemented in WebKit for their web apps. Many believe this barrier serves to steer developers toward native iOS app development, which Apple controls.

"The potential for a capable web has been all but extinguished on mobile because Apple has successfully prevented it until now," said Russell. "Businesses and services will be able to avoid building 'apps' entirely when enough users have capable browsers." "There's a long road between here and there," he said. "Apple has spent enormous amounts to lobby on this, and they aren't stupid. Everyone should expect them to continue to play games along the lines of what they tried in Denmark and South Korea."


#technology #browsers #apple #competition #EU

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    Is Microsoft Stealing People’s Bookmarks? / Schneier · Wednesday, 17 November, 2021 - 15:41

I received email from two people who told me that Microsoft Edge enabled synching without warning or consent, which means that Microsoft sucked up all of their bookmarks. Of course they can turn synching off, but it’s too late.

Has this happened to anyone else, or was this user error of some sort? If this is real, can some reporter write about it?

(Not that “user error” is a good justification. Any system where making a simple mistake means that you’ve forever lost your privacy isn’t a good one. We see this same situation with sharing contact lists with apps on smartphones. Apps will repeatedly ask, and only need you to accidentally click “okay” once.)

EDITED TO ADD: It’s actually worse than I thought. Edge urges users to store passwords, ID numbers, and even passport numbers, all of which get uploaded to Microsoft by default when synch is enabled.

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    Tabox - Save and Share Tab Groups for Chromium based browsers

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Monday, 30 August, 2021 - 14:51

Every now and again (sometimes after a software update) my Brave Dev browser loses its tab groups on restore. It always restores the 48+ open tabs, but my tabs are in Tab Groups, so I can collapse what I'm not busy with. This loss of the groups can be very irritating, and so far I had just not seen any extension that solves this, and none of the browsers seem to restore the groups.

Tabox though is saving the open tabs, along with groups (names and colours), and saves this locally on your drive. It has a sync feature too with Google Drive (optional), that will sync to your own GDrive (and not a third party site). I have a collection named for each browser I have open, and both named sessions show up in the cloud sync.

It will work on Chrome, Edge, Chromium, Brave, and should work too with Vivaldi and other Chromium based browsers.


#technology #browsers #tabgroup #tabox

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    How to Use Your Browser's 'Reader Mode' to Actually Read What You Click - For Chrome, there are some good Extensions too

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 13 August, 2021 - 19:19

Most of the time, you’re probably skimming the web instead of actually reading it. And that’s okay for quick news updates and browsing social media. But when you’ve opened up a long article that you actually want to read, things start to get difficult.

You find your mind wandering, and paying attention to the same page gets harder and harder. Don’t worry, the “reader” mode in your browsers will give you a fighting chance. These special modes are designed to make the web easier to read. They remove a given website’s formatting, empty space, ads, and all other extra elements to help you concentrate on the text, and some images.

The Chrome extension they mention is good, but some extra features do cost a once-off payment (at least its not a monthly subscription), but you can also consider an extension called Reader View by


#technology #reading #browsers #readingmode

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    Today’s Firefox 91 release adds new site-wide cookie-clearing action / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 10 August, 2021 - 13:00 · 1 minute

This menacing firefox seems to be on the prowl for unwanted third-party cookies.

Enlarge / This menacing firefox seems to be on the prowl for unwanted third-party cookies. (credit: Hung Chung Chih via Getty Images )

Mozilla's Firefox 91, released this morning, includes a new privacy management feature called Enhanced Cookie Clearing. The new feature allows users to manage all cookies and locally stored data generated by a particular website—regardless of whether they're cookies tagged to that site's domain or cookies placed from that site but belonging to a third-party domain, eg Facebook or Google.

Building on Total Cookie Protection

The new feature builds and depends upon Total Cookie Protection , introduced in February with Firefox 86. Total Cookie Protection partitions cookies by the site that placed them, rather than the domain that owns them—which means that if a hypothetical third party we'll call "Forkbook" places tracking (or authentication) cookies on both and , it can't reliably tie the two together.

Without cookie partitioning, a single Forkbook cookie would contain the site data for both and . With cookie partitioning, Forkbook must set two separate cookies—one for each site—and can't necessarily relate one to the other.

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    Brave vs. Firefox: Your Ultimate Browser Choice for Private Web Experience

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 30 July, 2021 - 08:59

It's true that Brave has a slight edge on Firefox when it comes to performance, as I've noticed the same thing. With an iPhone though, I've also noticed that the "send to" option from the browser on Linux does work with Firefox to the phone, but Brave does not see that phone even though it is synced.

Another issue can be if there is a specific extension that you need to use, and it may only exist for one of the browsers. For example vertical tab extensions work well with Firefox, but are a bit broken with Brave.

So there are always differences between browsers, and you need to test them thoroughly for your own scenario. Interesting that the Tor browser is not part of the comparison, but also worth noting that Brave has built-in Tor capability when opening new private tabs.


#technology #firefox #brave #browsers