blocking the trackers

It’s hard to stay clean in a dirty world. I have been trying to keep my site clean and not help the surveillance capitalists (e.g. Google, Facebook, etc.) to extract data about visitors to this site. I started by getting rid of Google Analytics. It was actually liberating to no longer focus on vanity metrics. Recently I have made changes like adding plugins to my WordPress site, such as Disable Google Fonts & Disable User Gravatar. But I was still helping the silicon valley ad-tracking business.

So I used a real-time website privacy inspector, Blacklight, to show me what I was missing.

blacklight privacy detector for

The piece I overlooked, which was nicely explained by Surya Mattu, was that I was featuring embedded YouTube videos on my site. The embed feature, while convenient, was also tracking my visitors. So I deleted all the embedded videos and added plain hyperlinks. Yes, visitors will be tracked by Google if they click on them, but not if they just visit my site. It may be a game of whack-a-mole, but I am trying to do my little part to clean up this stinking mess of online tracking just to sell more crap.

What I have learned in doing this is how difficult it is for the average person or small business to not aid and abet the surveillance technologies that drive the current Web. If you take any website creation tool out-of-the-box, it will likely have tracking (surveillance) built in.

The game continues …

2 Responses to “blocking the trackers”

  1. Richard

    Thanks for your thoughts on this, Harold, and the info. I’m in a constant battle with the fact that so many clients need me to use G-Suite or Google Workplace as I believe they call it now. I’ve got WordPress site too, so I’ll look into this.

    • Harold Jarche

      Luckily I have not been forced to use surveillance tech for a while. I once had a client ship me a laptop to access their systems. It took 20 minutes to boot up and had keystroke logging and many other tracking devices installed. I would send myself emails to my client account and then copy & paste, to avoid this crappy system. I once saw a senior executive’s laptop shut down to install an update while he was giving a presentation. He had no control over his machine. It was insane.


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