Friday, September 01, 2006

InfoWorld Tech Watch | TrackMeNot fools search engines

TrackmeNot is a firefox extension I've been using for the last week, almost. It generates random search queries at a rate that is user configurable (you enable via a choice under Tools, and the first few times I tried to open options it didn't work, but it's worked fine ever since then). Basically, it floods the search queries you make, I call it the "baffle 'em with BS" theory. ;)
Some of the queries are extremely odd, for instance the one currently is 'canned hex' (I'll post the ones I see while I'm working on this post, for you entertainment: 'patch gobbles,'daemon legaleses') But, it seems to work with no major hit in browser performance or connectivity, though I did get 600KB+/sec while getting some podcasts (just to show that I am a total broadband brat hehehe).

The Infoworld Weblog posted an article about TrackMeNot and other options to protect your privacy on the internet (to a limited
extent, I know...). A brief excerpt below with a link to the article.

In the wake of AOL's stunningly ill-conceived decision to publicize the search habits of hundreds of thousand of its users, as well as reports of various search engines employing user-profiling, we're seeing more Web tools emerge aimed at helping users hide their tracks -- or baffle their trackers.

Browzar falls under the former category. Though the name sounds like Godzilla's next-dorr neighbor on Monster Island, Browzar is actually a Web browser designed to protect users' privacy by not retaining details of the Web sites they've searched. It does so by automatically deleting Internet caches, histories, cookies and auto-complete forms.

Taking a different tack from Browzar is a Firefox extension called TrackMeNot. Rather than employing concealment or encryption to mask a user's browsing activities, it "periodically issues randomized search-queries to popular search engines, e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and MSN," according to the TrackMeNot Web site.

InfoWorld Tech Watch|TrackMeNot fools search engines

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