Is Ghostery Redundant?

Posting here is no longer possible, please use the forum of a filter list project, such as EasyList
Guest

Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by Guest »

This question is directed at the maintainers of subscriptions for blocking intrusive tracking mechanisms.

Does the coverage on the popular anti-tracking subscriptions overlap with Ghostery? Do the maintainers of these subscriptions regularly pull updates of the tracking servers maintained by Ghostery?
User avatar
vinny86
Posts: 735
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:17 pm

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by vinny86 »

( NOT A MAINTAINER :) )
AFAIK they don't use Ghostery as a source for blocking trackers.
Filter authors only add trackers to their lists if they see it themselves or are reported by users.

Ghostery is redundant in that it blocks web bugs and trackers (ABP with fanboy filters do a much better job, an article was put out recently, don't have the link)
not redundant in that it helps delete flash cookies. ABP can block flash cookies from being set depending on the filters.
But it cannot remove them once they are.

I suggest you use better privacy and ABP if you don't like overlapping functionalities.
Guest

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by Guest »

I love overlapping functionality, so long as there is at least some increase in coverage. if the list maintainers were regularly pulling in Ghostery's list of identified trackers then the addon would be redundant. My main concern is the lack of Ghostery support for Firefox mobile. If there isn't a 100% overlap then I'll need to find a way to export the Ghostery list to a custom list.

No flash on any of my systems, so no worries there.
User avatar
vinny86
Posts: 735
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:17 pm

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by vinny86 »

ABP filter maintainers do a much more thorough job of finding trackers IMO

One more additional advantage with ABP lists are ... that problematic trackers which break site functionality (if blocked) have already been whitelisted or left alone by the authors. You will spend less time whitelisting yourself.

Plus i think Wladimir wrote somewhere on the forum that he would not recommend having more than one extension that does the same job.
I think, am not sure :)

Would recommend that you use fanboy's tracker filter + enhanced tracking list + main list + Beef taco + http://userscripts.org/scripts/source/29078.user.js
Till
ABP CEO
Posts: 242
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:16 pm

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by Till »

vinny86 wrote:(ABP with fanboy filters do a much better job, an article was put out recently, don't have the link)
Here is the link: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6730
Guest

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by Guest »

Till wrote:
vinny86 wrote:(ABP with fanboy filters do a much better job, an article was put out recently, don't have the link)
Here is the link: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6730
From this link:

One of the highlighted scumbags was BlueCava (www.bluecava.com) which produces a particularly noxious device identification tracker.

Adblockrules, EL+EP, and Fanboy's do not block these cretins, but Ghostery does.

Ghostery stores a list of tracking domains in an easily-parsed serialized format within its directory in the user's Firefox profile.

Importing these domains to all the major lists should be simple. The trackers flagged by Ghostery are 100% intrusive advertising scum.
User avatar
fanboy
Posts: 3446
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 4:45 am
Contact:

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by fanboy »

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/37533397/tracki ... _graph.png

Impressed on how well the Fanboy Tracking list did so well, a mix of site-specific and generic worked out well :)
tancrackers
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:38 pm

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by tancrackers »

The redundancy of ghostery + adblock is not as bad as the unneeded strain that this combination puts on your browser and imo worse is the breakage that ghostery causes.
Certain blocking in ghostery will complete remove some aspects of websites. For eg, with Facebook Connect blocked, you cannot connect your facebook accounts to websites while ghostery is active, so I personally whitelist Facebook Connect. If you want to look at Statcounter, you have to whitelist Statecounter in ghostery or you cannot see the graphs. I have never had these problems with ADP's Fanboy tracking, easyprivacy, Adversity privacy, etc.
Guest

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by Guest »

Those results are good, but I'd be curious what the block rate would be with a full combination.

I've never seen Ghostery break anything, but even if it did that's a small price to retain privacy. Anyone who cares about privacy shouldn't be connecting with Facebook.

Fanboy, is it possible to import all the Ghostery blocked trackers to you list?
User avatar
vinny86
Posts: 735
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:17 pm

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by vinny86 »

Fanboy only adds trackers if they are seen in the wild. That is the policy of all subscription authors.
And most of the domains serving trackers and web bugs are already in subscriptions.
The count is way more than what ghostery has in their blacklists.
Guest

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by Guest »

Yes, but those subscriptions are not complete.

Take, for example, BlueCava, which I detailed above.

Their hideously intrusive tracking is not being blocked by the ABP subscriptions.

IMO, the filters need to be more proactive about trackers. If a company exists for no other reason than to be a digital intruder then it should hit all the blocklists as soon as it is identified. Nuking an entire domain is computationally cheap compared to all the URI-specific rules for blocking individual ad requests.

I'd feel a lot better knowing that filter maintainers are doing everything they can to stop these weasels.

Until then, Ghostery is a necessity on my desktop, which means I can't do any web browsing from my smartphone, as there is not yet a Ghostery for mobile Firefox.
User avatar
mapx
Posts: 21942
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:01 pm

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by mapx »

http://www.fanboy.co.nz/adblock/fanboy-tracking.txt

||bluecava.com^

easy tracking / privacy ... NO
User avatar
vinny86
Posts: 735
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:17 pm

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by vinny86 »

like mapx above said,its in the list, fanboy added it as soon as you mentioned that it was unblocked :)
User avatar
fanboy
Posts: 3446
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 4:45 am
Contact:

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by fanboy »

bluecava.com has been blocked for a while, though I can't find the actual commit
Guest

Re: Is Ghostery Redundant?

Post by Guest »

When I pointed it out I didn't see it in the Fanboy tracking list. It's possible that I mistyped their domain when grepping through all the lists.

Regardless, is there any reason not to preemptively nuke the 759 tracking patterns from Ghostery by including them in the ABP lists? If the Ghostery project identified them as trackers that determination should be reliable, and 759 pattern entries is not going to bloat anything compared to the raw numbers already in the popular subscriptions.

Even if only a few entries are not duplicitous, that's still a huge privacy hole, since the Ghostery list goes after the most intrusive of tracking companies.

This will be a huge benefit to mobile users who can't install Ghostery because they do not make a Ghostery plugin for Firefox mobile.
Locked