Content update: The Firefox Privacy Guide for Dummies!

As a result of some chatting with the fellas over at 'arkenfox' i decided to remove the storage cleaner (was Site Bleacher and later Cookies AutoDelete) from The Firefox Privacy Guide for Dummies!. The reasoning here was that a storage cleaner isn't strictly needed as long as First Party Isolation and Resist Fingerprinting were enabled in the Firefox prefs, however my decision was premature. After further testing and further discussion i realized that the 'arkenfox' user.js will break session restore and there's no way to get it to work without compromising privacy to an unacceptable degree. Also, by default, service and shared workers will break. Personally i don't want to bother with these things and i certainly don't wish to subject followers of my 'dummy' guide to these issues, and so i reinstated Cookies AutoDelete in the guide.

Save it locally because the internet will die says Corbett

James Corbet just posted another very good and instructional video addressing those of us who are new to figuring out how the world really works as opposed to how many of us think it works.

A portion of the video is dedicated to how James feels about the permanency of the internet or, more accurately, the information stored on the world wide web. He thinks much of it, meaning the content pumped out by us "conspiracy theorists", will be obliterated by the-powers-that-be-in order to control the narrative. Personally i'm not so sure about that, but i will concede that this is a possibility. In that light i would recommend, as James does, that we all store the important data which we discover on-line.

What James doesn't tell us, other than to do a search, is exactly HOW to grab the data we want to store and so i shall provide some brief suggestions in that regard, limited to my personal experience.

When you come across content you want to save, the most obvious solution is to press Ctrl+S and your browser will guide you through the process. You can save textual and imagery content this way, but not video. If you want to streamline the process, you can install a browser extension. For instance, the Firefox add-on repository (AMO) has several add-ons you can use to save content, one of them being SingleFile by gildas.

Saving video is another matter and while there a plethora of browser extensions that can accomplish the task, i would highly suggest avoiding all of them and using youtube-dl instead. youtube-dl can be installed on multiple platforms including Linux and Windows and it can save videos from many more video sharing websites than just YouTube. If you can find the link to the actual video however, such as a URL ending with .mp4, .avi, .mov, etc., then you don't need any extension because you can just press Ctrl+S or right-click the link to save it. For many video sharing websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc., it either isn't easy or is simply impossible to find a single source for a video and so youtube-dl is a wonderful tool in these cases because it goes way beyond what Ctrl+S can do.

I would also highly recommend archiving any content you want to save on an archive website. The best archive service i can recommend for textual and image content is archive.today. They don't obey robots.txt files (or at least not completely) and so once you archive something with them, it *should* be permanent. The next best service, and one that works for virtually all content including videos, PDFs, etc., is archive.org. While the WayBack Machine, as it's called, will not archive videos embedded in a page, one can use it to archive videos separately. If you create an account you can have your own archive library if you wish. Here's mine.

Content update: Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs

The Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs was updated for the same reason that The Firefox Privacy Guide for Dummies! was. Changes include:

  • added notes to CanvasBlocker, Cookie AutoDelete and LocalCDN stating that they are optional - the reason they are optional are because of settings in the 'arkenfox' user.js, particularly privacy.firstparty.isolate, privacy.resistFingerprinting and the clearing of storage on browser exit - many readers may see this decision as strange, in which case i'd recommend reading the Questions regarding compartmentalization, extensions and uniqueness thread in the 'arkenfox' user.js issues
  • for uMatrix several suggested settings in the "Settings, Privacy" section were removed, these being:
    • Delete blocked cookies
    • Delete non-blocked session cookies minutes after the last time they have been used
    • Delete local storage content set by blocked hostnames
    • Clear browser cache every minutes
    • Strict HTTPS: forbid mixed content
  • added info in the 'Cookie AutoDelete by CAD Team' section instructing how to save storage for a website if not using CAD