Tired of Web Sites Blocking Standard Browser Controls? StopTheMadness!

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2020/02/17/tired-of-web-sites-blocking-standard-browser-controls-stopthemadness/

Have you run across Web sites that steal control of your Web browser so you can’t copy text or use standard system functions? StopTheMadness can give you back control over your browser.

Wait, the article mentions a list of “popular browsers” and includes Microsoft Edge… when did that get released for macOS? I don’t recall reading about that in TidBITS, did I miss something?

It exists. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge

Will it stop web sites from adding tracking code when the URL is copied and pasted elsewhere, or returning “sorry cannot find” if the tracking code is deleted? Just one example:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/trump-takes-on-judge-amy-berman-jackson-ahead-of-roger-stones-sentencing/2020/02/12/753e2a6e-4db6-11ea-bf44-f5043eb3918a_story.html

I’m surprised that I haven’t seen it covered in TidBITS though (unless I did miss that article?)

Yes, as long as you use “Private Mode” along with it. In fact the above TidBITS article shows a Washington Post page as an example of it’s being able to do that.

Yes, it will strip that stuff out.

Hm, could you explain like I’m 7 instead of 70? Can’t get it to work,perhaps because I’m a wapo subscriber so I never see that adblocker whining popup, but I still get the tracking info added when I copy a URL, even using a Firefox Private Mode window to open wapo.com.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-fiery-democratic-debate-a-sour-welcome-for-bloomberg-and-criticism-for-sanders/2020/02/20/3b94ac2a-532e-11ea-929a-64efa7482a77_story.html

We considered it, but I honestly don’t see any reason to use Edge. Adam uses Brave, I use Firefox (funny enough, I originally got him into Brave), and of course we fall back on Safari as needed. I don’t see a reason to use any other browser on the Mac at the moment.

I’ve been meaning to write about Brave, which I like. I used Edge briefly during the beta but didn’t find it compelling enough to switch. I still have it and use it occasionally when I need Yet Another Browser.

1 Like

I mostly use Safari, or Chrome for work (because they don’t have Safari) but occasionally some websites don’t work in Safari so I have to use Chrome. That most often happens with links to journal articles via my university library having too many hops, which Chrome handles OK but Safari doesn’t. Ideally I would have one browser that allows me to continue sessions between devices, regardless of whether it’s a home or locked-down work device/PC. I haven’t found that yet :confused: In any case, it’s a hassle to switch so inertia will probably keep me on Safari.

Oh, and of course, works with plug-ins such as StopTheMadness :slight_smile:

Nope, I can’t seem to find any setting to block the addition of the tracking code when I copy a WaPo URL. Again, maybe because I’m a subscriber so I never see the whining “subscribe” popup?

Another example:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/capitals/alex-ovechkin-scores-goal-no-699-but-the-capitals-fall-to-the-canadiens-in-overtime/2020/02/20/5648161a-5414-11ea-929a-64efa7482a77_story.html

Is that a tracking code or just a clunky URL? For example, if I click a random article on Cult of Mac’s Twitter feed without StopTheMadness, I get:

https://www.cultofmac.com/686545/apple-maps-look-around-boston-philadelphia-washington/?utm_campaign=twitter&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

But then if I click the same link with StopTheMadness on, I get:

https://www.cultofmac.com/686545/apple-maps-look-around-boston-philadelphia-washington/

You might want to shoot Jeff Johnson an email and see what he says about those WaPo URLs.

(Not picking on Cult of Mac, it’s just the easiest place I know off the top of my head to find those kind of tracking links.)

is the kind of added stuff I’m asking about, for sure. It seems to be a way of tracking any time someone copies a block of text off a page and pastes it elsewhere, kind of an automatic citation. Which annoys me because it’s tracking where I do read stuff routinely.

Here’s another: I copied and pasted just the article headline into a text file then clicked the resulting link and it opened the source page.

I did not find a contact link for Jeff Johnson, so I guess I’m hoping he
follows this discussion. Pointer welcome.

It’s not tracking you, it’s simply tracking where the link was found so that the site will know what the effectiveness of various methods of pointing to their site. That way way know where to put their time and advertising efforts to best use.

Jeff can be reached at stopthemadness@underpassapp.com.

1 Like

It’s tracking what I read – where I copied something from. Ask a librarian about that.

[### Toward the Post-Privacy Library? | American Libraries Magazine
americanlibrariesmagazine.org › 2015/06/16 › toward-the-post-privac…]

(https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2015/06/16/toward-the-post-privacy-library/)

Jun 16, 2015 - Statistics and optimization services like Google Analytics and New Relic don’t currently share Alice’s search history with advertising networks, but libraries should evaluate the privacy assurances from these services to see if they are consistent with their own policies and local privacy laws.

1 Like

Recent tweet from DuckDuckGo: https://twitter.com/duckduckgo/status/1230866518675726342?s=21

It’s sadly ironic how many privacy-related articles are shared with tracking parameters added to the address. :disappointed:

So here’s a PSA to protect your friends & followers: When you share any links, please check for (& remove) text in the address that starts with ?utm_

HI,
Looks like a nice little useful app, thanks.
I hate is when password pasting and also video controls are blocked.
BUT
I see that StopThe Madness wants to read ‘passwords, phone numbers & credit cards’, should we be concerned about that?
I normally disallow expansions that require such access.
thanks to you all

1 Like