WordPress & Google

Spent some time earlier tightening up what I want automatically blocking on my home network.
Top of that, and it will always be top, is Google.
Fuck Google. In every way possible.

I checked this site.
It is a normal WP install with 4 plugins:
Classic Editor
Email Subscribers & Newsletters (new addition so I do not have to use Jetpack)
Viper’s Video Quicktags Migrator (been here forever)

Among others I use the Firefox extension uMatrix to block nasty / privacy invading stuff.
This is what I see here in a Private Firefox Window:

I had no idea that giving Google data is baked into WordPress.

 link rel='dns-prefetch' href='//fonts.googleapis.com'

If anyone knows what I can edit to remove this I’d love to know.

Happy to stop using Fitbit

I’ve several fitbit devices – the clip-on, Flex, Charge, Charge 2, Charge 3, Surge and was until very recently looking to buy a Versa 2. I like them, I like the focus and on some days it did motivate me to get to 10k steps. The Charge 3 was easily my favourite – the perfect size, display and functions.

The Versa 2 comes in at over £200, so when I was in the Apple store recently and say the Series 3 watch was £199 I was suddenly interested. I’ve dumped the Samsung S8+ I was using for an iPhone 11, bought an iPad so the Apple watch made sense. It does everything the fitbit did and more and it does it better. It’s a neat device.

Why dump the S8+? Two reasons, in order: (1) the camera placement right next to the fingerprint sensor is a really really stupid design. I’ve been unable to take a ton of pics because the lens would be blurry and (2) Google.

The fitbits. I’ll never use them again. Ever. Partly because the Apple watch does more – and better – and partly because I’ve stopped really caring about 10k steps. But now I’ve an even better reason – Google again. It looks like Alphabet – effectively Google – will be buying it.

Yeah, like Google having even more of my data would be a good idea.

fb targeted ads – my turn.

2 evenings ago J said she only really used her phone to tell the time when she wakes at night. I mentioned maybe getting a projection clock. The conversation moved on without an answer.
Last evening J said that a projection clock might be a good idea, so I started looking.
On my phone I opened the Amazon Shopping app and looked through various options. Nothing looked good.
Later yesterday I was sitting at my desktop machine and searched again as I was gaming online. I opened Firefox to do this. I was not logged into Amazon.

I need a voice activated clock. I know Alexa will tell the time when asked and so does J but if she wants a projection clock I’ll do what I can to get her one. Anyway, I browsed Amazon and found nothing. I closed Firefox.

Years ago I realised that Firefox loads and works faster if there is no cache. So my FF settings are to delete everything on quit.

I do not have FF sync.
I do not have fb (or even twitter) on my phone.

Earlier, on my desktop PC I opened Menutab for facebook. I see this:

So where is menutab loading cookies? I asked them:

Thank you for writing in, MenuTab for Facebook stores it information in the following folder:


It does not use any external browser cache.

To recap:
– I searched in the Amazon app on a phone.
– I searched in non-logged-in Firefox on a different machine
and yet I get targeted ads.

Explain that one.

Google has my fingerprint

Indiegala.com uses the new reCAPTCHA from Google.
If I login there using Safari (for the first time on that site) I get the ‘Click to show you are not a robot” and when I do I get logged in straight away.
If I login using Chromium when I tick the box I get shown an image matching task as I posted about here.
If I login using Firefox I don’t even get the chance to click anything and I am shown a very distorted couple of words and everything I enter is always wrong. So then I get shown some code to copy as I posted about here.
I clear cookies and all saved data in each browser when it closes so this behaviour by Google has to come down to 2 options as I see it.

  1. Google are using some sort of super cookie / evercookie.
  2. Google have fingerprinted my browser.

According to Panopticlick

Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 5,186,229 tested so far.

Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys at least 22.31 bits of identifying information

Looks like disabling javascript could be the way to go – hello NoScript.
Will also try blocking Google fonts/ajax.
And this is on top of uBlock, Privacy Badger and Ghostery.

Google are part of the problem. They are not part of any solution.

Mozilla want your secrets

At Mozilla, we believe that your online identity should belong exclusively to you. With that in mind, we created Persona to improve the way you sign in to websites.

via Mozilla Persona.

I read that as “We believe your online identity should belong to both of us.”

We believe you should control how your personal information is shared.

Damn right – which is why Mozilla isn’t getting it.

Privacy requires work and I am perfectly happy with that level of work.

Firefox. Cookies. Privacy.

Mozilla proudly trumpet from the rooftops that they more than any other browser protect your privacy because they tell sites not to track you. All you need to do is tick one little box and you can’t be tracked. Anywhere.

Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

But they utterly – and they aren’t stupid – fail to explain cookies and do a terrible job of letting you choose which sites can and cannot track you. See that? Mozilla say sites cannot track you but sites do track you regardless of that silly little box. Malice? That is probably too harsh but they are certainly working to an agenda that puts privacy low on the list.

The above list of cookies would be much larger if I wasn’t also using Ghostery which does care about privacy. As does the BetterPrivacy extension because Flash cookies are evil.

So here is how you let certain sites keep cookies in Firefox.
Get to the Firefox Preferences

Click Exceptions (from the image above)

Click Settings (from the large image above)

and when you restart you will have just those cookies you want.

and you just did more for your Privacy than that ridiculous little box. Mozilla could make that process much much easier and explain each step but they choose not to. They don’t really care about your privacy because cookies are a major part of that. Just me that thinks this?

With recent browsers, the cookie setting that offers users the most pragmatic tradeoff between cookie-dependent functionality and privacy is to only allow cookies to persist until the user quits the browser (also known as only allowing “session cookies”). says the EFF.

but Firefox defaults to letting all tracking and all cookies happen. It does nothing to educate users either in their browser or on their site. Makes all that noise about the tracking box just that – noise. Mozilla has a site just for Do Not Track – http://dnt.mozilla.org/ and here are some words from there (you might want to count how many times they use the word cookie):

How does Do Not Track work with other privacy tools?
Do Not Track is one of many privacy solutions. Do Not Track does not replace your anti-virus software, will not encrypt data, and is not a security mechanism. There are several other privacy and security features within Firefox.

Will Do Not Track affect the rest of my Web experience?
Do Not Track may interfere with some personalized services you enjoy. For example, a Do Not Track request might mean you would have to type in your zip code each time you want to view a weather report, rather than seeing the weather automatically displayed. Personalization on websites can save you time and repetitive typing, but it requires data.

How do I enable Do Not Track in Firefox?
This feature is not enabled by default. You can find the Do Not Track request on the Privacy pane. On Windows, go to Tools > Options… > Privacy.
Click to check the box next to “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked”. For more information, see the help file on how to stop websites from tracking you.

and in the last quote there is a link to this page which has this image.

which implies that Do Not Track is all you need to protect your privacy. Mozilla do have a page on how to Enable and Disable cookies but it does a poor job of explaining and does not at all mention the Clear History which I’d say was an important part of your privacy.

Mozilla could do more but they choose not to – and I doubt it’s bedfellow Chrome is much better.