Internet Politics Thoughts

AdBlock Censorship :(

On the 13th September, the AdBlock team posted to Google+:

We at AdBlock believe that our users should have freedom. That’s why we block all ads by default and release our code for anyone at

… but apparently their belief in their users’ freedom doesn’t extend to mentioning that this code is available in a trackable, versioned form at, because they removed my post saying this!

Now that, I have to say, is just rude…

Internet Politics Technology Thoughts

AdBlock source-code on

At the end of July, Wladimir Palant of Adblock Plus wrote a blog post which criticised Michael Gundlach‘s AdBlock for several reasons, but most worryingly:

AdBlock has no scruples to assign unique IDs to their users, to collect data about them (like which settings they enable) and to track the users each time they visit their website. You also cannot avoid visiting their website because the extension will send you there occasionally, most notably on first run. There is no privacy policy, so nobody knows what happens with that data. The discussion on their privacy policy has been marked private for some reason, I guess details were published there on what data they collect.

Not just that, the AdBlock project was also so careless when implementing this “feature” that every other website can track AdBlock users as well. And they explicitly allowed to be notified whenever some AdBlock user starts up his browser.

… but also criticised AdBlock for being a GPL-3 open-source project with no public repository, and only per-release zip archives being made available. This means that it is non-trivial to determine what changes have been made between versions, and generally increases suspicions that someone somewhere is hiding something…

To remedy this, and as is my right according to the GPL-3 license under which AdBlock releases are made available, I have extracted each AdBlock release which is still available, and uploaded it to github at the following location:

… and I’ve a mind to fork this code-base and add DNT support if the user has enabled this option in their browser.

For balance, Michael’s response is at where he makes a point-by-point rebuttal.

I must admit that I’m still with Wladimir on this one – if AdBlock were doing nothing that they feel their users would object to, why not ask their users permission or, failing that, at least post – either within the extension or on their site – details of what tracking and what partnerships are active within a given release? Michael’s assertion that “User IDs are randomly generated and aren’t retained across different machines, browsers, or reinstallations” entirely misses the point that, for a given installation in a given browser, he had created a constant global tracking ID that can be used to uniquely identify the user, regardless of the preferences the user has expressed regarding whether they’re happy to be tracked or not.

Music Politics

Jónsi from Sigur Rós

… on Jo Whiley’s Live Lounge.

“Go Do” starts at 5:38, and the Live Lounge cover track at 15:41.

More from Jónsi here.

USA Politics World Politics

Pot, Kettle; Kettle – Pot.

China has hit back at US criticisms of their Human Rights record.


And the people shuffled their feet…

Notice anything odd at the end of last week?

No, I’m not referring (directly) to the London Car-bombs, but rather something related but much more interesting: Rather than the expected reactions of shock or fear, the general public reaction seems to have been a collective “Meh.”

USA Politics

Cost of the war

An photo-article at The Boston Globe looks at what else the money so far spent on the invasion of Iraq could have been used for…

Politics Technology

HD DVD processing key discovered, AACS LA not happy

The AACS LA have resorted to the desperate last-ditch action of issuing Cease & Desist notices to websites publishing the simple sequence of numbers:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Politics Technology

Seen on slashdot

Slashdot was today reporting the news that SGI has finally made an End-of-Line announcement on IRIX and all MIPS-based hardware 🙁


(Although this might mean that Tezro finally appear en-masse on eBay <drool>)


Amongst the discussion was this gem:


Democracy is a sheep and two wolves deciding what to have for lunch.
Freedom is a well armed sheep contesting the issue


Anyone else thinking of Worms right now? 😉

Humour USA Politics

Protecting National Monuments

San Francisco Hires Nude Women To Protect Golden Gate Bridge [].

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