Startpage silently tracking adblocker usage?

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barbaz
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Startpage silently tracking adblocker usage?

Post by barbaz » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:54 am

Some users here have previously recommended the Startpage search engine for privacy. Because Startpage doesn't store search terms or IP addresses, and they ensure their links won't leak search terms through the referer. For these reasons, I had also used it myself.

But is there now a catch? - https://forums.lanik.us/viewtopic.php?f=88&t=35960

I not only can confirm what the OP of that thread says, I tried to see what they do with the adblock detection. And I found this -

Code: Select all

if (typeof jQuery === 'function') { jQuery(document).ready(function() {if(abp){load_img('https://www.startpage.com/do/avt?a=5274&g=911&l=english');} else {load_img('https://www.startpage.com/do/avt?a=5274&g=912&l=english');} }); } 
Ok, before reaching for the inhalers, please note that there could be legitimate reasons to track adblocker usage. For example, if you were a webmaster, you might want to know what percentage of your site's users block ads, in order to decide if it's worth having ads on your site.

But I would rather not speculate about Startpage's motivations.

So I checked their privacy policy, and...wait, no mention whatsoever of adblock detection?

Image

Not cool.


So what can you, as a user, do about this?
  • Just be aware of it, hope for the best, and continue business as usual.
  • Disable active content on Startpage, e.g. by using NoScript. This will prevent the adblock detection from occurring.
  • Temporarily use another search engine, such as DuckDuckGo, until there is some certainty on this matter.
*Always* check the changelogs BEFORE updating that important software!
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Thrawn
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Re: Startpage silently tracking adblocker usage?

Post by Thrawn » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:58 pm

Hmm. I'm not seeing this script even with startpage.com whitelisted?
======
Thrawn
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Religion is not the opium of the masses. Daily life is the opium of the masses.

True religion, which dares to acknowledge death and challenge the way we live, is an attempt to wake up.
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barbaz
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Re: Startpage silently tracking adblocker usage?

Post by barbaz » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:07 pm

It's inline and still there. No need to whitelist anything to see it.
*Always* check the changelogs BEFORE updating that important software!
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Thrawn
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Re: Startpage silently tracking adblocker usage?

Post by Thrawn » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:40 pm

Nope, not seeing that inline script on startpage.com or ixquick.com
======
Thrawn
------------
Religion is not the opium of the masses. Daily life is the opium of the masses.

True religion, which dares to acknowledge death and challenge the way we live, is an attempt to wake up.
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/45.0

barbaz
Senior Member
Posts: 8972
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:45 pm

Re: Startpage silently tracking adblocker usage?

Post by barbaz » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:45 pm

It's not on their homepage. You have to actually do a search to see it.
*Always* check the changelogs BEFORE updating that important software!
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