New Firefox "feature" eases spying on users http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/darin/archives/009594.html
A new proposed feautre in Firefox/Mozilla automates a common web-linking technique in a way that raises grave concerns about user-privacy. A common practice for some web-sites is to send people who click on links to a server that first counts their click and then redirects them to the link's destination. Firefox's new "ping" attribute proposal for links lets web-authors do this in a less-transparent, but more efficient way, so that when you click on a link, a "ping" is sent to a server (or group of servers) to notify it of your click while your browser loads the destination page. > I'm sure this may raise some eye-brows among privacy conscious folks, but > please know that this change is being considered with the utmost regard for > user privacy. The point of this feature is to enable link tracking mechanisms > commonly employed on the web to get out of the critical path and thereby > reduce the time required for users to see the page they clicked on. Many > websites will employ redirects to have all link clicks on their site first go > back to them so they can know what you are doing and then redirect your > browser to the site you thought you were going to. The net result is that you > end up waiting for the redirect to occur before your browser even begins to > load the site that you want to go to. This can have a significant impact on > page load performance. I understand the motivation for this, but the implementation sounds fishy. I'd prefer a system that obtained user-consent for any pinging that took place, and that allowed ping-blocking by site, ping-server or across all sites. That would let users control their experience and their privacy. Otherwise, this feature just eases the technological burdens associated with spying on users. You are a subscribed member of the infowarrior list. Visit www.infowarrior.org for list information or to unsubscribe. This message may be redistributed freely in its entirety. Any and all copyrights appearing in list messages are maintained by their respective owners.