[cryptome] Your web browser is not your friend

  • From: In Harms Way <11414150173@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 20 May 2015 12:24:28 +0300

Essential browser extensions

Your web browser is not your friend: it allows your behavior to be
tracked as you browse the web, often leaks personal information, and is
a festering sore of endless security problems.

This is not by accident, but by design. Despite their marketing, the
browser companies care more about making advertisers happy than your
privacy or security.

For example, there was a huge debate in the 1990s [1] about the privacy
implications of third-party cookies, which is why the official cookie
technical specification required [2] that these type of "surveillance"
cookies be disabled by default. Guess what? Nearly all browsers ignored
this requirement under pressure from ad companies [3]. Fast-forward to
2010: after a Mozilla engineer disabled third-party cookies by default,
advertisers became rabid and "coincidentally" Mozilla executives ordered
the change reversed immediately [4]. After that, the browser companies
quietly issued a new cookie standard which allowed third-party cookies
to be enabled by default.

The cookie debacle is just one example. If any of the browser companies
gave two shits about your security or privacy, then they would kill off
foreign http-referers, Flash, Java applets, and third-party cookies
(among many other obvious changes). Google has a very good browser
security team, but their hands are tied by policy decisions that keep
advertisers happy.

So, basically, we are fucked. Despite that, you can make your web
browser experience a little bit better and more secure by following
Riseup's handy guide to essential web browser extensions:


[1] Shah, R. C., & Kesan, J. P. (2009). Recipes for cookies: how
institutions shape communication technologies.

[2] https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2109

[3] Bruner, R. E. (1997, May). Advertisers win one in debate over
“cookies”: Netscape move may settle sites concern over controversial
targeting tool

[4] Soghoian, C. (2010). Thoughts on Mozilla and Privacy.

We have nothing to hide, but something to protect:
- and the people, whose human rights these are.

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