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  1. #1
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    Are tracking-prevention tools worthwhile?




    LANGALIST PLUS

    Are tracking-prevention tools worthwhile?


    By Fred Langa

    Some third-party, add-on software promises to increase your security by preventing websites from tracking you across the Web.


    But all the current major browsers have enhanced privacy modes available that do the same thing, for free, with just a few clicks.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/are-tracking-prevention-tools-worthwhile/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    In terms of effectiveness, third-party online tracking prevention can offer some additional protections. But browser plug-ins and extensions may be on their way out, as the article notes. I still stand by Click&Clean for all browsers, not just for privacy, but for quick and easy cleanups upon closing the browser. And Abine does offer some protections in its suite which are still not offered in the major browsers. No browser has the control over scripts and ads which NoScript and Ghostery add. These extensions may not do much to improve privacy, but they do have security enhancements not yet implemented natively in IE, Firefox or Chrome.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    RE: DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem upgrade conundrum

    Although true that DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems are IPv6 capable, the real current action for subscribers is in the speed increase these modems are capable of. DOCSIS 3.0 allows for channel bonding - up to 4 channels each in both upstream and downstream directions, simultaneously. DOCSIS 2.0 limits are under 50Mbps; with DOCSIS 3.0's 4 channels active, well over 100Mbps is achievable...

    Of course, the cable operator head-end gear must support and allow this to occur, but there really IS an end-user speed component and advantage to using a DOCSIS 3.0 version under those circumstances.

    kager

    ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOCSIS

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    I still stand by Click&Clean for all browsers, not just for privacy, but for quick and easy cleanups upon closing the browser.
    Click&Clean isn't available for Internet Explorer. But it's not needed because IE9 InPrivate Browsing does automatic cleanup as mentioned in the article.


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    And Abine does offer some protections in its suite which are still not offered in the major browsers.
    Abine Privacy Suite is not available for Internet Explorer. But its Tracking Protection List is, as mentioned in the article; "IE also offers separate, always-on Tracking Protection,"


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    No browser has the control over scripts and ads which NoScript and Ghostery add. These extensions may not do much to improve privacy, but they do have security enhancements not yet implemented natively in IE, Firefox or Chrome.
    NoScript is not available for Internet Explorer. But scripts and other stuff it blocks can be blocked by Internet Explorer 9, on a site by site basis if required.

    Ghostery isn't supported for IE on Windows 64-bit. But I don't think it does much that the Personalized Tracking Protection List available in Internet Explorer 9 doesn't do anyway.


    So it looks like most or all of these privacy/security enhancements are already implemented in IE.


    Bruce

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    Do not third party tracking-prevention tools do more than erase history?

    Hello folks,

    Surely private browsing in all three major browsers only cleans-up after the tracking has already been gathered by the vendors of our details. Which info gathering is prevented by third party tools - or have I got their function all wrong? - can anyone enlighten me?

    Regards,
    mgb

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    Quote Originally Posted by mgbinnewhaw View Post
    Hello folks,

    Surely private browsing in all three major browsers only cleans-up after the tracking has already been gathered by the vendors of our details. Which info gathering is prevented by third party tools - or have I got their function all wrong? - can anyone enlighten me?

    Regards,
    mgb
    I think you're absolutely correct with respect to InPrivate/Private/Incognito browsing modes. But Internet Explorer 9 also has Tracking Protection (and ActiveX Filtering).

    I would like to get a clearer understanding of which third party tracking prevention tools, if any, can add useful protection to IE9.

    Bruce

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    router speed also important

    Fred,

    In addition to the comment on channel bonding to increase DOCIS speed in 3.0, another important considerationis the throughput of the router. Older models can't keep up with the 25-50 MBit sppeds that are easily available at home. This is also important if you have 100Mbit or 1G ethernet at home between different computers/servers, etc.

    A good site is smallnetbuilder.com, which has all sorts fo charts on router speeds.

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwa...er-charts/view

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    google tracking

    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    ...control over scripts and ads which NoScript and Ghostery add. These extensions may not do much to improve privacy, but they do have security enhancements not yet implemented natively in IE, Firefox or Chrome.
    I have windows XP and IE 8 but typically use the most current version of the Firefox browser with NoScripts. I only allow script from google.com (no google analytics or other google scripts). By doing this am I blocking any of Google's current tracking, and or its recently announced expanding tracking over all its products, effective March 1, 2012?

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    Quote Originally Posted by user ht View Post
    I have windows XP and IE 8 but typically use the most current version of the Firefox browser with NoScripts. I only allow script from google.com (no google analytics or other google scripts). By doing this am I blocking any of Google's current tracking, and or its recently announced expanding tracking over all its products, effective March 1, 2012?
    No. Google's cookies can be used to track your searches and other activities. There are special add-ons for preventing this. Google opt-outs are included in Abine, TACO, and the Google Opt-Out extensions for Firefox. It turns out that Internet Explorer offers these protections, but in different forms.

    The expanded Google tracking actually isn't as big a deal as some folks are making it out to be. See THIS article from PC Magazine.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-02-01 at 11:20. Reason: Updated information about Internet Explorer.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Google opt-outs are included in Abine, TACO, and the Google Opt-Out extensions for Firefox. Internet Explorer does not offer these protections.
    Google's Advertising Cookie Opt-out Plugin is available for Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/plugin/

    Abine provides Tracking Protection Lists for Internet Explorer 9: http://abine.com/tpl/

    Other sources also provide additional TPLs for IE9:
    http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Br...otectionLists/
    http://www.iegallery.com/en/trackingprotectionlists/

    Bruce

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    An additional note about DOC SIS 3.0 and cable companies. I bought my cable modem from Charter when I signed up and had no problems for several years. Then my speed dropped from about 8 M download to less than 1 M. When I complained they said they no longer supported the modem I have and that was the cause of the speed drop. After talking to the tech department, they said that they had converted to DOC SIS 3.0 and that it was not compatible with the modem I had. I bought another modem that was on their list of supported cable modems and immediately my speed when up to 12 M. Strange that they sent out no notification about the incompatibilities, only a notice that speeds were being increased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    Google's Advertising Cookie Opt-out Plugin is available for Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/plugin/

    Abine provides Tracking Protection Lists for Internet Explorer 9: http://abine.com/tpl/

    Other sources also provide additional TPLs for IE9:


    http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Br...otectionLists/
    http://www.iegallery.com/en/trackingprotectionlists/

    Bruce
    I have updated my previous post to reflect these facts. Thanks.
    -- Bob Primak --

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