uBO Scope: Measure your privacy exposure score on the Web

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 14, 2017

The new Firefox and Chrome extension uBO Scope observes traffic to compute a privacy exposure score.

The browser extension works with any WebExtensions-based content blocker, or no blocker at all, and displays the score when you are visiting sites on the Internet.

The main idea behind the extension is to measure your privacy exposure. The base premise is that any connection to a third-party server will be used. It may be used for functionality on a given site, to display advertisement or other third-party content, but also to track you. The latter is done usually to create profiles to improve the lucrativeness of advertisement.

uBO Scope

The extension grabs the base domain name for any third-party connection a site makes, even if it is disallowed. Pair consisting of the first-party domain name and third-party connections are stored in the extension's database to copute the overall exposure on the Internet. The data is stored locally only.

The score is based on the browsing history as well as content blockers if they are used. While the extension is maintained by Raymond Hill, the maker of the popular content blocker uBlock Origin, it may be used with any WebExtensions-based content blocker.

uBO-Scope is essentially a tool to measure what these benchmarks measured, except that uBO-Scope also measures ubiquitousness of third parties, and measure according to your own browsing history, so the results are completely relevant to you (unlike external benchmarks which quite probably do not match your own browsing history), and the goal is to increase awareness of your own level of 3rd-party exposure.

The extension displays a heatmap when you click on the overall score in the browser's interface. Each square of the heatmap represents a third-party connection with the most ubiquitous third-party connection in the top left cell of the heatmap.

The cells are color coded; red means the connection was allowed, gray that it was disallowed.

The interface lists two scores. The one on the right is the actual exposure score if you would not have used a content blocking extension, the one on the left the actual score that takes the content blocking into account.

When you hover the mouse over a cell, you get the name of the domain, and the percentage values that indicate how many sites you visited on that day made that connection.

You can switch the heatmap display to list view which shows the third-party connection domain names and the scores directly. Click on the icon on the top left of the heatmap to do so.

The only options the extension comes with let you change the time interval in days which the extension uses to compute the third-party expousre score, and the heatmap color.

Closing Words

uBO Scope is an interesting extension as it raises awareness in regards to third-party connections and privacy. It may also be used to test content blockers to find out about the connections that they allow and block; this may be useful to adjust certain blocking criteria.

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Author Rating
4.5 based on 8 votes
Software Name
uBO Scope
Software Category
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

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

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

      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

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

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

    @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


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    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

    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

    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

      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

    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

    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

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

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

    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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