Better according to Panopticlick


#1

We had an email from someone wondering why Better doesn’t make Safari appear safe according to Panopticlick.

So Aral had a quick look at Panopticlick and concluded:

Panopticlick are using their own simulated third-party trackers to check for tracker blocking. Better crawls the web to find actual third-party trackers and blocks them specifically so as not to break general functionality on the web. We crawl for the most popular trackers and block them to provide the greatest practical coverage for the greatest number of people.

We could easily block the three test sites Panopticlick uses (and we might, so it does not give people a false result) but that’s not a good indication of whether trackers are being blocked.

Basically, any tool could block the following three test domains only and appear to pass their tracker test, when in reality, they would not be blocking any trackers whatsoever:

Unfortunately, this means that Panopticlick can’t possibly be an indicator of whether tracking is blocked in a browser. All it proves is that a browser or browser extension has added the Panopticlick simulated domains to their blocking rules.


#2

I’ve now added the three “simulated tracker domains” that Panopticlick uses in their test to Better.

So the results are now:

Note that nothing has changed in Better apart from the fact that we’re blocking the three “simulated tracker domains” to make Panopticlick happy. This is a completely meaningless test but I chose to implement it as it was otherwise providing erroneous results from a trusted source (EFF).

What’s more dangerous is that anyone can block just those three domains and Panopticlick will erroneously tell people that they are being protected from trackers.


#3

By the way, the fact that we do not unblock parties that promise to honour Do Not Track is a feature, not a bug.

Quite simply, Do Not Track does not work and gives a false sense of privacy.

Having Better installed is equivalent to ‘You Will Not Track’.


#4

Thanks for answering!

I have discovered you recently and appreciate your work

A small question. Is there a way to know which trackers are blocking on the page you’re visiting?

I would like to stop using services that use too many trackers


#5

Thanks :blush:

I’ve just written up a forum post explaining exactly this. Thanks for the prompt!