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Is My Anti-Tracking Working? 2021-12-11


Here at home I have an old laptop running GNU/Linux that provides DNS services for my network. It uses a script I made to automatically download a bunch of blacklists daily and then converts those blacklists in to something dnsmasq can understand. In short, my DNS server stops all machines on my network from accessing a pretty long list of domain names. I also use the uBlock Origin plugin in my browser to block whatever crap makes its way through my DNS blocking. This works out pretty cool because I do not need to use giant blocklists in my browser, which can make a browser feel pretty laggy. In addition to ads, this also blocks tracking and beacon domains which are mostly used to put advertising for "stuff you probably like" under your nose.

Today I was looking at walfart.ca (seriously, not bragging about that) when I noticed that their web site wanted to recommend some stuff for me.

walfartsucks Nice job.

For anyone who may not know me, both of those items are way off my radar. I need those about as much as I need a box of tampons and a jet airplane. I guess it is possible that my blocking is really effective and Walfart just has no idea what I might want to buy, but I'm not convinced that's really what's happening here. I am logged in to my account, and Walfart knows every item I have bought from them in the last few years. Clearly they are aware I don't have a girlfriend that wants me to smell like I sleep in a bed full of petroleum based air fresheners, let alone have been having the sex required in order to produce children which need diapers. It would really seem as though Walfart's tracking and ad-pushing algorithm sucks almost as bad as Amazon's pushy search feature.

Shit, for a moment there I thought I was making progress.

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