Posts Tagged ‘web privacy’

Start panic? not really…

May 10, 2009


A coworker forwarded me a link to a site called Start Panic. If your browser supports jscript, it will show you recent sites you visited, or as one talkback phrased it:

So, what, this just prints a list of all the greatest porn sites on the web?

The site goes on to offer signing on a petition to patch privacy vulnerabilities (about 3000 visitors already signed it last time I looked), but that’s not really going to make any difference. You can always turn off scripts in the browser if you want to prevent this kind of trouble (though you might lose functionality in some sites). If the site owners were really interested in privacy issues (rather than the Google ads in their front page), they could have provided some useful info instead of that meaningless petition.

I didn’t look into the jscript code the site uses to grab the history, but others did. Basically, it uses a small database of URLs and checks the color coding the browser uses to distinguish between new links and visited links to see where your browser has landed before. This neat trick is compatible with all common browsers, of course. I guess usability and privacy/security will almost always clash…