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Ghostery in conjunction with Collusion - interesting

Hi, I installed Ghostery yesterday, along with Collusion. At first, I set Ghostery not to block everything (i.e. Enable web bug blocking unticked). I thought I'd take a look at just how many creepy companies were tracking my activity. A lot, it turns out - Collusion was full of red "nodes", and I added manual blocks to 38 different trackers in Ghostery in about an hour's browsing.

Today, I switched "Enable web bug blocking" on, and browsed (pretty much) the same sites again. This time, Collusion shows far fewer red nodes, a really impressive reduction, though there are still a few (24-7realmedia / decdna, Mediaplex / apmbdf, Akamai, TradeDoubler, Perfiliate, DoubleClick). About half of these appear in your block list. I know you're not responsible for Collusion, or how it operates, but I'm guessingyou've seen it, and just wondered how to interperet the red nodes for companies that are in your block list. Does this mean the block failed in these instances? Or is it Collusion failing to recognise when blocks have been triggered?

A final question - when using cashback sites like QuidCo, should I disable Ghostery altogether? I'm guessing the tracking in these instances is not only done from the cashback company to the stores, but also the other way so they can confirm where the buyer came from. If I'm right, I'd whitelist the cashback company, but I don't want to whitelist potentially lots of shop sites.

Cheers for a top little add-on. Great work.
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  • Hi gilawson, thanks for using Ghostery.

    There are several caveats in running Ghostery with Collusion that I don't have an answer for until I test, but heres the explanation.

    Ghostery is a content blocker when blocking in enabled. What it does is that if a matching tracker requested, Ghostery will prevent the source of the content from downloading. Additionally, if Cookie Protection is on, it will deny writing out cookie contents for that particular match. Collusion hooks into a listener for http-response which shouldn't fire for any blocked script BUT there are several cases when it will fire regardless of Ghostery, for example if you happen to visit the site in question as a first party (lets say, going to doubleclick.net directly). Additionally, Collusion uses a newer API then Ghostery, and with that, I am not sure of the order of execution: Firefox might be firing the event before it gets passed into Ghostery content blocker.

    I will do more research on Monday and give you a detailed break down. Lastly, make sure that your Ghostery bug list is up to date -- I'm not sure which Ghostery you are running, and the database for Ghostery is updated weekly.
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