Control Tracking with Baycloud Bouncer

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 11, 2017
Internet
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16

Baycloud Bouncer is a web browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Edge, that give you full control over online tracking.

Online tracking, through the use of browser cookies or otherwise, is so common in this day and age that you are hard pressed at finding advertising services or popular sites that don't track users in one way or another.

Do Not Track was designed with good intentions. It is a value that is transferred with header information when programs connect to sites. If set, it tells the site that the user does not want to be tracked. Most modern browsers support Do Not Track. Google introduced Do Not Track in 2012 in Chrome, and Mozilla in 2011 in the Firefox browser.

For this to work however, sites need to support Do Not Track technically, and also support what it is supposed to do.

Mozilla revealed results of a study back in 2013 that showed that no more than 20% of users sent Do Not Track headers with their requests.

Baycloud Bouncer

 

Baycloud Bouncer is a WebExtension for various web browsers that implements the Do Not Track Consent API. Essentially, what that does is block tracking through the use of cookies unless consent has been given by the user.

This goes one step further than asking sites not to track, as it will block tracking unless allowed by the user of the browser.

Servers may use the API to prompt for permission, and if permission is granted, persistent cookies or other techniques may be used to track the user.

Baycloud Bouncer acts as a bouncer that controls this. It blocks any site from trying to set persistent cookies or use other means of tracking if explicit user consent has not been given.

Any embedded content, that means third-party content such as ads that are displayed on a site, are only given site-specific consent according to the description of the add-on.

Additionally, Bouncer will also enforce the Do Not Track signal and not only communicate it to the sites the browser connects to. This means that persistent cookies will only be allowed for a maximum of 2 hours if set.

The application adds an icon the browser's main toolbar that you may click on to manage the behavior. The interface lists all first and third party domains connections have been made to, whether Do Not Track is supported, what a site's response was, and options to block specific sites directly.

You can allow a site to track you with a click in the interface, and revoke the permission as well again at a later point in time.

Options

do not track options

Baycloud Bouncer ships with a bunch of preferences and options to configure the extension's blocking of tracking further.

Here is a short overview of the supported options:

  1. Confirm Consent Requests -- Whether to confirm any consent request.
  2. Override Cookie Expiry -- If Do Not Track is set, let cookies expire after 720 minutes (change the time period).
  3. Block Invisible Beacons -- If no consent is given, block beacons that are not visible.
  4. Block if Pings are Detected -- Block if pinging is detected.
  5. Don't send 3rd party cookies -- Block third party cookies if Do Not Track is set.
  6. Changing Do Not Track also changes 3rd Parties -- If you whitelist sites, whitelist also applies to third parties.
  7. Notify Fingerprinting -- If Fingerprinting is detected, notify the user.
  8. Notify 1st party Fingerprinting -- Notify if first party fingerprinting is detected.
  9. Replace Path in Referer Header -- Whether to hide the referring site in the header.

BayCloud Bouncer can be downloaded for Mozilla Firefox from Mozilla AMO, and for Google Chrome for the Chrome Web Store.

Verdict

Baycloud Bouncer offers better protection against tracking than the Do Not Track header. Its extra features, besides that, and the flexibility it provides in regards to tracking, may make it attractive to some Internet users.

Even users who have disabled third-party cookies may find it useful, as it may help when it comes to first-party tracking, and other tracking methods as well.

Now You: How do you handle tracking on the Internet?

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Comments

  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm
    Reply

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm
      Reply

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am
      Reply

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.
      http://www.google.com/saved

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm
    Reply

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm
    Reply

    @Martin

    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:
    https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/15/netflix-is-testing-game-streaming-on-tvs-and-computers/

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am
    Reply

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm
    Reply

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am
      Reply

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm
    Reply

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am
    Reply

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm
    Reply

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm
    Reply

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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