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The Internet Mozilla Privacy Technology

Research To "Reveal the Unseen World of Cookies" 108

An anonymous reader writes "The Guardian newspaper has teamed up with Mozilla to research the monitoring of online behavior through cookies and other web trackers. After downloading the Collusion add-on for Firefox, you can generate a visual representation of all the cookies that have been downloaded which are linked to the sites you have visited. This shows quite an interesting picture. The Guardian staff then want the data from Collusion to be uploaded to their site, after which they say 'we can build up a picture of this unseen world. When we've found the biggest players, we'll start tracking them back — finding out what data are they monitoring, and why.'"
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Research To "Reveal the Unseen World of Cookies"

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  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:30AM (#39700479) Journal

    On Firefox, disable HTML5/DOM storage, install CookieMonster 1.5 and BetterPrivacy.

  • Cookieculler (Score:5, Informative)

    by MLCT ( 1148749 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:37AM (#39700549)
    Bit of a shoutout for the firefox extension cookieculler.

    I have never found anything that matches cookieculler for features: it doesn't just purely delete cookies, it operates with a white-list based system (the way everything on the web should work). Cookieculler deletes all cookies each time you close the browser, except the ones you have whitelist "protected", that keep login information etc. as you choose.

    Along with noscript, cookieculler is the main reason I stay on firefox.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:40AM (#39700563)

    Anyone else read the title and thought people were taking a deeper look at why those delicious baked goods are so tantalizing?

  • Facebook (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lucky75 ( 1265142 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:48AM (#39700637)
    You'd be shocked at how many cookies come from facebook across multiple sites. I use an extension called Ghostery ( to block most of them.
  • Re:Cookieculler (Score:5, Informative)

    by MLCT ( 1148749 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:01PM (#39700753)
    Granted firefox can offer something close, but not quite. Cookieculler offers finer control, because you can whitelist the *cookies* rather than the domain. So I can (and do) choose to protect my /. cookie, but not anything else that /. place in my browser (hypothetical example, as /. don't place any other cookies).
  • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @01:53PM (#39701903)

    Cookies are not the only evidence of tracking. Even Flash LSO, HTML5 local storage, etc.

    There's a surprising amount of identifying information in request headers and what's available to javascript. (see [] for a demonstration.) That means, one often needn't accept or store a cookie to be tracked.

    A really comprehensive pro-privacy browser extension would munge request headers and enumeration of fonts, plugins, screen resolutions, etc. to match one of, say, the top 5 most common desktop browser fingerprints - and to change every so often (Changing per request would itself be a trivially detectable signature.)


I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel