Browser Add-on ClearURLs

oldschool

Level 59
Verified
Mar 29, 2018
4,833
Does ClearURLs handle tracking links that are typically used in email newsletters? My filtering system blocks all of these, so if there is an article I want to read, I have to "search" the web to locate the original source.

I was just reading about this in his Gitlab thread. It is supposed to but IIRC there may be some instances where it doesn't. I've edited above post and included the link. You may read about it there if you search the issues referenced in his reply.
 

oldschool

Level 59
Verified
Mar 29, 2018
4,833
I would think that blocking third-party scripts (like privacy possum does) would save more internet bandwidth and processing power than filtering URL-parameters and blocking/changing cache values misused for tracing (like ClearURl's does).

You are way too technical for me with your coding talk, but you may very well be correct. I'm a simple man. I try one thing, see how it works and then try something else. 🤔🤔🤔

Edit: have you tried it?
 

Decopi

Level 3
Oct 29, 2017
120
With all due respect, CleanURLs is not what you're trying to promote in this post.

CleanURLs' main function, as its name says, is to clean urls (url tracking parameters). In simple words, the main function is to remove part of url links. That's all. Period!
Now, please do a simple test at CleanURLs: Keep only the url clean function (turn off everything else, "hyperlink", "ETag" etc)... and you will see that CleanURLs blocks almost nothing. In simple words: You're using a bazooka to kill mosquitoes. Every webpage you load, will need to pass hundreds of RegExps, just to filter very few url tracking parameters. It's a waste of resources, with negative browser performance.

Currently 90% of what CleanURLs blocks are "hyperlinks" and "ETags". However, both functions can be achieved without using add-ons at all!
It's ridiculous to use CleanURLs in order to block "hyperlink" and "ETags", is a distortion of what supposes to be the add-on main function: Just to remove part of urls.

In the other hand, the removal of url tracking parameters doesn't need long or updated JS' scripts, nor hundreds of RegExps.
The small bit of JS' script that removes parts of an url, is the same and it will be the same code for the next years... it's an universal JS' script, and is very small, lightweight and efficient.
And with regards to RegExps (url tracking parameters), average users will be fine with just 20 generalist RegExps. If someone needs to block specific parameters, again, the efficient way is to customize these blocking parameters (instead of using hundred of unknown RegExps). Same logic goes to blocking lists, 90% of any list always remains unused, but is consuming lot of resources).

I was one of the first CleanURLs' testers/reviewers. Also long time ago, I was the person who introduced CleanURLs to ghacksuserjs, in order to include the add-on in the "recommended category".
But sadly, CleanURLs got worse over time. CleanURLs is the typical example of an add-on that time ago started very slim and focused, but with time became a big pachyderm add-on, unfocused, trying to do in a bad and inefficient way what many other add-ons are doing perfectly fine by using just 10% of resources.
 
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SecurityNightmares

Level 33
Verified
Jan 9, 2020
2,280
Now, please do a simple test at CleanURLs: Keep only the url clean function (turn off everything else, "hyperlink", "ETag" etc)... and you will see that CleanURLs blocks almost nothing
That's only logically then. If you disable features, they're not used.
Hyperlink isn't required anyway, as both uBlock Origin and uMatrix already can do that since long time, but not ETag or cleaning URL tracking.

In the other hand, the removal of url tracking parameters doesn't need long or updated JS' scripts, nor hundreds of RegExps.
Many sites use different parameter so you can't archive that with some rules and some will change as the tracking company know such addons. It's always a cat and mouse game but if you don't update the rules - like NeatURL, you will lose the game.
 

Decopi

Level 3
Oct 29, 2017
120
I hear you. Please elaborate on doing without addons. Clearing browser data manually?

DISABLE HYPERLINK:
about:config => browser. send_pings FALSE (also I do recommend to disable every "prefetch" preference). Nowadays are not adding performance, and are creating privacy issues.

DISABLE ETAG:
ETags are related to cache. So, no cache, no ETag. Simple like that!
In the past cache was needed for better performance. And of course, many users with old hardware and poor internet connection, they may benefit from cache.
But if you have a normal hardware (average of 5 year old) and a normal internet connection (average of 20Mbps), then you are not going to see benefit from cache. Just do the test, disable all kind of cache (disk, RAM, DNS etc), and if you don't see the difference, then keep using your browser without cache. And again, no cache => no ETags.
But if you did the test, and cache is better for you, then use FPI (First Party Isolation) + Containers + Block cookies (no add-on is needed for these 3 functions), and restart the browser every 3 hours (clean cache), and 99% of your Etags are gone or they are just useless (incapable of tracking).

Just keep in mind that the best for privacy is not "blocking" but "blending".
The simple fact of blocking stuff, will increase your entropy, making you more and more identifiable.
The best strategy for privacy is not blocking but anonymity. You can use Tor' about:config preferences to blend yourself into a general browsing profile. Don't use add-ons for privacy.
Blocking only is recommended for security (like blocking third-party JS or ads or cookies etc). Also is good for performance.
 

Decopi

Level 3
Oct 29, 2017
120
@Decopi you're talking about Firefox. What about Chromium?

Well, it is a kind of contradiction to worry about privacy, and in parallel to worry about using Chrome/Chromium.
But I know that something similar can be done at chrome' flags. You can find instructions by googling the subject. I saw many articles teaching how to disable hyperlink and cache at chromium browsers.
Also, Brave disables hyperlink by default. Brave is the most privacy friendly chromium. Try to find an article about how to disable Brave' cache, and you're ready to go.
 
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