Listeners of The Changelog have already heard Plausible’s story. On that show we talked about self-hosting and how that was something the team was interested in, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
Well, now they’ve gotten around to it.
We started developing Plausible early last year, launched our SaaS business and you can now self-host Plausible on your server too! The project is battle-tested running on more than 5,000 sites and we’ve counted 180 million page views in the last three months.
Marko Saric, who you may remember as the only content marketer we’ve met who runs Linux:
Most GDPR consent banner implementations are deliberately engineered to be difficult to use and are full of dark patterns that are illegal according to the law.
I wanted to find out how many visitors would engage with a GDPR banner if it were implemented properly (not obtrusive, easy way to say “no” etc) and how many would grant consent to their information being collected and shared.
Turns out DDG has been using a favicon proxy since 2018 that effectively sends all websites users visit in the app to their servers. This was first reported a year ago and shrugged off (and closed) by them because they aren’t keeping any of those requests.
The issue sat dormant until it resurfaced yesterday when many other users stated their concern with the naive server-side implementation:
Yes, we already trust DDG, but only because we have to trust someone and others have proved to be untrustworthy. The issue isn’t about whether the user trusts DDG, it’s about minimizing the need for trust and maximizing the ability to verify privacy. Please consider reopening this issue. – svenssonaxel
It was suggested that this feature could/should be handled on-device and this comment on Hacker News points to Mozilla’s open source implementation that does just that. Finally, DDG’s CEO Gabriel Weinberg woke up (literally) and committed to changing the implementation.
All’s well that ends well?
I’m pretty sure that, given the state of the world and the focus on Zoom right now, they will rectify this, but until then…“the only feature of Zoom that does appear to be end-to-end encrypted is in-meeting text chat.”
“They’re a little bit fuzzy about what’s end-to-end encrypted,” Green said of Zoom. “I think they’re doing this in a slightly dishonest way. It would be nice if they just came clean.”
Without end-to-end encryption, Zoom has the technical ability to spy on private video meetings and could be compelled to hand over recordings of meetings to governments or law enforcement in response to legal requests.
Have you ever posted an image on the public internet and thought, “What if someone used this for something?” Thomas Smith did and what he discovered about Clearview AI is disturbing…
Someone really has been monitoring nearly everything you post to the public internet. And they genuinely are doing “something” with it.
The someone is Clearview AI. And the something is this: building a detailed profile about you from the photos you post online, making it searchable using only your face, and then selling it to government agencies and police departments who use it to help track you, identify your face in a crowd, and investigate you — even if you’ve been accused of no crime.
I realize that this sounds like a bunch of conspiracy theory baloney. But it’s not. Clearview AI’s tech is very real, and it’s already in use.
How do I know? Because Clearview has a profile on me. And today I got my hands on it.
Instead of blocking ads & trackers at the device level, Pi-hole is a DNS sinkhole that gets the job done at the network level. One benefit of this (in addition to ease of use) is that it can block content in non-browser locations like mobile apps and the like.
Easy to use, self hosted, no tracking, just photos.
We like to take photos and share them. Problem is it’s hard to really own your photos and how they’re represented across social media these days, so we set out to make a place for them. You host it yourself, wherever you want (Netlify, Github Pages…), you’re in control.
Following up on our awesome episode of The Changelog with Algo creator Dan Guido, I thought I’d kick the tires on this Ansible-based, self-hosted VPN solution to see what it’s like to actually set it up and configure my phone to use it. This is my first video of this kind. I’d love to know what you think! How can I do this better? Do you want moar like this? Keep my day job? What?!
The commercial VPN industry is a minefield to navigate and many open source solutions are a pain to use or ill-suited for the task. Algo VPN, on the other hand, is a self-hosted personal VPN designed for ease of deployment and security. It uses the securest industry standards, builds on rock-solid solutions like WireGuard and Ansible, and runs on an ever-growing list of cloud hosting providers.
On this episode Dan Guido –CEO of security firm Trail of Bits and Algo’s creator– joins Jerod to discuss the project in depth.
GoatCounter is a web analytics platform, roughly similar to Google Analytics or Matomo. It aims to give meaningful privacy-friendly web analytics for business purposes, while still staying usable for non-technical users to use on personal websites. The choices that currently exist are between freely hosted but with problematic privacy (e.g. Google Analytics), hosting your own complex software or paying $19/month (e.g. Matomo), or extremely simplistic “vanity statistics”.
If you’re concerned with the amount of data Google has on you, this list of alternative browsers, web apps, operating systems, and hardware may help you ween yourself from the company. Looking at this list, it’s amazing just how much value Google offers in trade for our data. A note from the author:
It’s a shame that Google, with their immense resources, power, and influence, don’t see the benefits of helping people secure themselves online. Instead, they force people like us to scour the web for alternatives and convince our friends and family to do the same, while they sell off our data to the highest bidder.
A fun, quick dive into Facebook’s tracking pixel and how it does its thing:
I think it’s fun to see how cookies / tracking pixels are used to track you in practice, even if it’s kinda creepy! I sort of knew how this worked before but I’d never actually looked at the cookies on a tracking pixel myself or what kind of information it was sending in its query parameters exactly.
Creepy, indeed. Our browsers are the last line of defense against such creepiness. Choose yours wisely.
Run it on a Raspberry Pi or any other local server. Try the online demo to see what all it’s capable of.
Certbot was first released in 2015, and since then it has helped more than two million website administrators enable HTTPS by automatically deploying Let’s Encrypt certificates. Let’s Encrypt is a free certificate authority that EFF helped launch in 2015, now run for the public’s benefit through the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG).
A lot of progress has been made since we first talked about Let’s Encrypt on The Changelog.
Watch out! If you start reading this paper you could be lost for hours following all the interesting links and ideas, and end up even more dissatisfied than you already are with the state of software today. You might also be inspired to help work towards a better future. I’m all in :).
I co-sign that sentiment. When the author says “this paper” they are referring to this paper which they are about to summarize. If you haven’t considered local-first software before, you should know that there are seven key properties to it, which are described in detail in the paper and in brief in the summary.
The RadVPN doesn’t need any central point as it connects to other nodes directly (full mesh) it has built-in router that helps packets to route to the appropriate destinations.
Linux only at the moment.
Algo automatically deploys an on-demand VPN service in the cloud that is not shared with other users, relies on only modern protocols and ciphers, and includes only the minimal software you need. And it’s free.
For anyone who is privacy conscious, travels for work frequently, or can’t afford a dedicated IT department, this one’s for you.
Algo’s list of features (and anti-features) is compelling and most VPN services are terrible. 👀
Works out of the box. No lousy documentation to read. No configuration file. No post-configuration. Run a single-line command on the server, a similar one on the client and you’re done. No firewall and routing rules to manually mess with.
This looks like a nice alternative to the many vpn-as-a-service offerings out there if you’re up for hosting it yourself.
Cory Doctorow, writing for EFF about the history and present of adblocking:
The rise and rise of ad-blockers (and ad-blocker-blocker-blockers) is without parallel: 26% of Internet users are now blocking ads, and the figure is rising. It’s been called the biggest boycott in human history. It’s also something we’ve seen before, in the earliest days of the Web, when pop-up ads ruled the world (wide web), and users went to war against them.
Fascinating. I’d never heard of adversarial interoperability before.
Those sneaky Mozillians are up to no good with their new tool to confound advertisers:
Let us open 100 tabs of pure madness to fool trackers into thinking you’re someone else.
In upcoming versions of iOS and macOS, the new Find My feature will broadcast Bluetooth signals from Apple devices even when they’re offline, allowing nearby Apple devices to relay their location to the cloud… it turns out that Apple’s elaborate encryption scheme is also designed not only to prevent interlopers from identifying or tracking an iDevice from its Bluetooth signal, but also to keep Apple itself from learning device locations, even as it allows you to pinpoint yours.
WIRED with a fascinating explanation of an utterly fascinating scheme.
According Darrell Etherington writing for TechCrunch, “Apple is now the privacy-as-a-service company.” Just look at that larger-than-life billboard-style ad and apple.com/privacy.
What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.