WhatTheInternetKnowsAboutYou: your browser is giving away your history

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27 Responses to “WhatTheInternetKnowsAboutYou: your browser is giving away your history”

  1. Anumati says:

    If I turn on FF’s private browsing feature, it picks nothing up. Also, I access a whole bunch of stuff, including (usually) Boing Boing by way of RSS, and it didn’t pick any of that up either.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now that we’ve completely demolished the site, does the Internet know nothing about me?

  3. carriem says:

    site’s down? :(
    hope we didn’t smash them

  4. Anonymous says:

    Firefox’s Private Browsing mode seems to do the trick. Maybe I’ll just leave it on full-time.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Apparently the internet knows absolutely nothing about me. All I get in FF3.5 is a blank page.

  6. gelos says:

    I got the same thing. It listed sites I haven’t been to in a long time and then only briefly.

    I only use one profile and only use Firefox. It looks like they’ve got some work to do.

  7. coffeemoon says:

    Try : http://jondos.de/en/anontest for some more substantial and open set of tests and explanations.

    Agree with #21 noscript blocks a redirection link, which, even if explicitly allowed links to another set of scripts, all of which are blocked.

    FF: Tools:Preferences:(tab)Privacy:(button)Settings: Tick all boxes, clear on exit! Job Done.

  8. towlemonkey says:

    Dear people of the Internets,

    Don’t submit your link to Boing Boing unless you’ve prepared for the traffic. You know what’s going to happen.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Interestingly – after trying this with IE 8, FF 3.5, Chrome, and Opera 10 [my regular browser] .. Opera does not have this issue, while all the others do.

  10. mdh says:

    “Congratulations, we did not find anything in this category in your browser history.”

    Do I win something?

  11. kluelos says:

    The site’s suggested solution (a FireFox add-on), doesn’t support the current version of FireFox. You have to wonder how much else is out of date.

    If you use the mouse to “select” the site text, it becomes white-on-black and isn’t nearly as hard to read.

  12. Anonymous says:

    i had no history either…. didn’t think i was doing anything special.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Opera showed the insane amount of 5 sites there.

    I thought the site was bugged until I tested it in other browsers.

    +1 for Opera ;)

  14. angusm says:

    The problem with the technique that they use is that it must work from a list of ‘known’ pages, which in practice is likely to be limited to well-known sites. If ‘midgetgoatporn.com’ isn’t in the pre-programmed list, your shameful secret is safe. So long as the list of sites to check for is finite, this isn’t a very useful technique.

    One nice exercise might be to make it dynamic. If they detected that I visited ‘boingboing.net’, for example, they could fire off a spider (or review a cache of previously-spidered pages, or just query Google) to see what pages exist on ‘boingboing.net’, then present me with a revised page to figure out exactly which pages I looked at. That would give you the beginnings of a more detailed profile of my interests (“Hmm, he seems to have totally ignored all the papercraft articles and only read about half the steampunk stuff, but he does seem to be interested in civil liberties …”).

    I guess we’ll need to get into the habit of regularly clearing our browser histories as well as our cookies.

  15. Raj77 says:

    Internet doesn’t know shit about me, apparently.

  16. Anonymous says:

    In Chrome, the the Internet is just looking back at me with two square red eyes. While this is somewhat disconcerting, I don’t get the feeling it knows much about me…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hasn’t this existed for 10 years? Does cookie blocking not prevent this?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Too bad the BB site looks like junk if you follow that site’s recommendations for a workaround.

  19. techdeviant says:

    I’m sort of sad that it doesn’t have a larger list of porn sites for me, given that I spend 8-10 hours a day working on them.

  20. Anonymous says:

    What is really scary here is what the internet does know about me– it picks up a very distorted image.

    Yes, I did indeed visit all the sites found (and I’m on Firefox), but they were a small fraction of the overall pagecount. You could use this tool to present me as a pervy militarist commie white power/survialist birfer/troofer islamicist or almost whatever you want. Which is what comes from doing research.

    This is really dangerous stuff if stoopid cops or the NSA take it at all seriously.

    And yes, it did pick up my BoingBoing visitation.

  21. Thad E Ginataom says:

    I just clicked on cute kitten and the power went off.

    How do they do that? Do they know about my UPS?

  22. Thad E Ginataom says:

    …And which link on their site turns it back on again?

    Or do I just have to wait five or ten minutes, like most regular power cuts here ?-)

  23. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Well, I’ve never been to the first four that came up. Funnily enough, BB didn’t appear.

  24. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    ..but will probably cease if the mods aren’t brought into line..

    Do I need to take this personally, Rodney?

  25. Anonymous says:

    The article sez one doesn’t need javascript enabled for the hack to work. So how come NoScript prevented the inner part of the website to load? I think the hack may have been IFRAMEd from another site. Would this have really worked if the hack was hosted on the site I was visiting?

  26. matt blank says:

    Odd. It says I visit the USPS site a lot more than Google. Apparently I’m into postal services. Aside from that it’s giving me a lot of government sites that I rarely visit, usually only while doing research. I guess the rest of the places I visit don’t merit attention by them.

  27. Rodney says:

    Wow, that was a deeply-unnerving experience. Boing Boing didn’t show up in my history for some reason, even though I visit multiple times per day (but will probably cease if the mods aren’t brought into line.) Also, the number of visits was quite wrong on some of them.

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