Brief reporting here of a slogan sold cheap “your privacy is important to us” or “we put your privacy 1st“, used by many commercialized old software and services, that became too popular for “industry” to leave alone. Sometimes marketing hype and sloganism becomes more than actual meaning and content. It is the myth that sells. So how is open/free software and a free search engine, committed to user privacy, used by large marketing businesses, and data miners, is used as a lure to do exactly what Microsoft explorer, msn, google, yahoo, mozilla, do, but with an “activist’s” dress? I am talking about waterfox and startpage, both sold during the past couple of years to a data mining business. And if it wasn’t a data miner it is now.
If I use waterfox to access startpage.com, no proxy, no tor, no VPN, but with NoScript blocking every type of script, I get access to the search engine. I am not blocked, my options set a while ago are still set, I get my dark theme and 20 hits per page. I am “ensured” that I can use anonymous links if I wish for the results, but accessing startpage is not anonymous, in a sense, and “it” knows who I am.
If I go to terminal now and access the same page through w3m (browser)
Now, I try elinks I get a blank screen, not even the above message, I try lynx and I have full access and can search! Wow! Hey, look, startmail, it sells with the slogan:
What is StartMail? StartMail is an email platform that takes privacy seriously.
Take whose privacy seriously, and what does that even mean? A private detective takes privacy seriously, he gets paid so you can’t have any. That’s pretty damn serious.
At least, like most commercial sites these days, the only scripts they are inducing to their victim/visitors are their own in house scripts, you are not bombarded by 15 servers all working on you for reading a 2 paragraph article with a catchy title and literally no content. Have you noticed how frequent and how aggressive gstatic.com has gotten these days. It is even running here on wordpress if you want to edit text. Most sites if you just block gstatic, nothing else, you can’t read or browse anything on them. Free apis handed out to all commercial web-designers have a cost. If you stop using them everything that is funky on the site falls apart. Just one google site, gstatic.com blocked, and about 80% of the content of WWW vanishes. There is a public contract with users for google, is there one with gstatic.com? Let us examine this.
404. [INS: That’s an error. :INS] The requested URL / was not found on this server. [INS: That’s all we know. :INS] [Document has only hidden links. Use the 'l'ist command.] List Page (Lynx Version 2.8.9rel.1) References in http://www.gstatic.com/ Hidden links: 1. http://www.google.com/
So, you all allow gstatic.com to run scripts for every web page you visit (almost, respectable open/free software sites don’t use any of their apis and work perfectly without scripts – EMPHASIS ON RESPECTABLE) there is no contract or even a note who those people really are, just a hidden link within hidden content to google.
And things are getting worse and worse every day, every click, and every activity, action, expression of freedom. Your whereabouts are recorded, your interests, your movement, your contacts, your dreams, your aspirations, your tendencies ….. each and every one of us 8bil. imprisoned corps have voluntarily handed out our existence to the “controllers”. The know it alls.
All above tests were done with no tor, no proxy, no VPN, and no “company network”. That last one they list at startpage is a bit surprising. Are companies really blocking startpage so startpage is blocking them back? Or is it that you can’t use the search engine behind some commercial firewalls. Their last excuse:
“– Do you have special browser configuration or extensions?”
Nothing special, no extensions, just a text browser’s evolution as it worked 30 years ago. Same IP that I’ve had for days, no middle man.
I am not asking for an excuse about why they are denying service through my text browser, I am looking for a reasonable explanation on how does Waterfox, with NoScript addon installed and blocking scripts from startpage, allows access and use, but KNOWS that I am the same machine from the past few days and what my settings are. If scripts are not doing it, cookies are. Or is it something more elaborate within the browser. Someone may say, it is more private than mozilla’s ff. That is not an example of anything committed to privacy and anonymity, mozilla’s products have been known to be common spyware on their own.
Am I surprised? No, I like cookies, I eat them and then “bake new ones” to have the next day.