New submitter tanstaaf1 writes: I was thinking about the whole tracking and privacy train-wreck and I'm wondering why specific information on how it is done, and how it can be micromanaged or undone by a decent programmer (at least), isn't vastly more accessible? By searching, I can only find information on how to erase cookies using the browser. Browser level (black box) solutions aren't anywhere near good enough; if it were, the exploits would be few and far between instead everywhere everyday. Read below for the rest of tanstaaf1's question.On Amazon, I haven't found a likely good book on the topic. There are books on protocols but I'm really only interested in how I can detect and track and block, and erase, and re-write and spoof all the tracking attempts on a case by case basis. Maybe a book on how to write my own tracker — or my own tracking blocker from scratch?
In theory it wouldn't seem to be that hard to uttlerly micromanage your own computer. Here's how I think it could be done:
(1) Have an explicit on/off switch, ideally OS based and trivial to control with a mouse-twitch, which turns internet access on and off as certainly as a mechanical light switch controls lights. Along with this, maybe the whole screen can change color, red-light green-light, to keep the user always aware of incoming or outgoing traffic. I should instant be able to get detailed information on any unexpected write or read request. Think unix "ps" or better. (Actually, a file system which allowed the owner to attached detailed memos and other information would be a nice touch...once litter builds up it quickly gets easy to hide real malware everywhere; that is a common technique used by embezzlers everywhere — create chaos and then hide your exploits within it).
(2) When the browser is started, make it start in a fresh virtual space / sand-box. Then copy into that space any "cookies" or other information I explicitly care to put into that space. I would, for example, put in site specific cookies to allow sites i whitelist to identify me. A good database of all the files in my virtual space, how they got there and what they are used for, would be really nice to see.
(3) As you browse you can block or not block ads and trackers; the add-ons already exist.
(4) When you decide to exit the browsing session, at least, the computer should save important cookies from sites you frequent for later restoration.
(5) The entire virtual space is then shredded and deleted.
This could all be done at a finer grain, I'm sure, but I wanted to lay out an overall strategy — and ask:
(1) What am I missing?
(2) Has this already been done and automated, say, under Linux? (I wouldn't expect Microsoft, Apple, or Google to facilitate this sort of security under their OS systems; foxes guarding the hen house and all that. However, even under Windows and OSX I can install virtualbox...)
(3) Why is it so hard to find the specifics of, step-by-step, how (not why or if) we are being conned and raped and what, specifically, can be done to stop it? Why are we screwing around with all these endless add-ons instead of striking at the root of the problem? Or have I not really identified the root?
I would appreciate any specific feedback on my scheme or, even better, a link or three.