Here is a collection of little tips and tricks to control your user experience in an increasingly nosey internet.

YouTube, and the googlesphere

Google is making a point of connecting everything in its little corner of the web,Ii have a google plus account but I find YouTube agravating to browse when connected, sadly, I’m not given the option of NOT identifying myself, so here is a little trick that I found that allow me to be connected to google.com (plus, maps, translate and english search) and stay disconnected on every other websites of the googlesphere (YouTube, google.fr, etc…)

  1. Install a cookie manipulation tool, such as “Edit this cookie” (by the UNICEF) for chrome/iron/chromium.
  2. Go on youtube.com (you might need to be logged on google for it to appear)
  3. In “Edit this cookie“, find the cookie called HSID, delete it’s content and protect it from being modified.

When you log on google.com, this is the cookiethey use to store your session across their different services, you can also do the same trick for google.fr, but do NOT do it on a website that you still want to be able to log into, this manipulation effectively prevent you from logging into that website.

Facebook

Facebook makes a habit of being very indiscrete, the Facebook “like” button effectively allow them to gather traffic data from any website where such button is present. What’s worse is that if you are logged on Facebook, any website with a “like” button effectively report to Facebook that YOU where there.

I have this little habit of “removing” from websites everything I don’t like (ads of course, but sometimes entire segments that in consider to be clutter), so here is a little trick to block facebook ANYWHERE, but on facebook.

  • Install an ad blocking plugin, such as Adblock or Adblock+, or any other plugin that understand the Adblock style rule sets.
  • Go in your ad blocker options and add the following rules:
||*.facebook.*^$domain=~facebook.com|~127.0.0.1
||facebook.com/*$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net
||facebook.net/*$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbc
||fbcdn.com/*$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.netdn.net
||fbcdn.net/*$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net
  • Enjoy 🙂

Keep in mind that this will also block the “useful” apps from Facebook, such as the Facebook comments, but who really read these right?

HTTPS

You may or may not know it but surfing the web is not a very discrete thing. Most of your day-to-day activity can be monitored by every single  entity carrying the data packets to and from the site you visit, that’s your ISP, your government, and every companies in-between.

HTTPS is the secure and encrypted version of HTTP (The protocol used for web surfing). It basically encrypt the data going to and from the server you are connecting to in such a way that only you can see the content of the communication, an added benefit is that the server has a signature that gives you some guaranties that nobody can “listen” to the conversation.

This part is not 100% bulletproof, governments can still coerce certificate authorities into providing forged signatures, but it’s better than nothing… Unless you work for an international drug cartel, in which case you might want to hire someone in computer security.

HTTPSEverywhere, is a handy little tool made by the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation, the good guys of the internet). This little plugin has a large database of websites that support HTTPS and will redirect you transparently on the HTTPS version of a website when available. This allows you to increase the security and privacy of your day-to-day browsing with zero inconvenience.