How Much Paranoia…

…should a person have when configuring a web browser?

I had a good back and forth with @pbeens about this today.  A fresh installation of any web browser comes with certain settings.  With a good browser, you can add extensions to do various things to try to maintain your privacy.  But how much is too much?

I tried to reach a website today – it was a school website and one of the pages just refused to load with my decked out Google Chrome browser.  I fired up Mozilla Firefox and was able to see the desired page with no problem.  So, it was noodle scratching time.  I went through the process of disabling extensions until I got it to work.

So, I started to think.  Just how far do I need to go to try and keep my privacy and stop the web from tracking where I go.  (Although, I’ll admit, it’s pretty boring since I tend to hit educational and news sites).

I took a look through my extension to Google Chrome and have the following installed.

AdBlock Plus – Used to block advertisements that are pushed my way.  It’s not that I’m adverse to advertising; it’s just that with a slow internet connection, this does help to speed up the browsing process.

Collusion for Chrome – I’m big into visualizations and Collusion illustrates the webbing and connections that are happening as you browse.  I find it fascinating.

Do Not Track Me - Plain and simple, it’s designed to stop web sites from tracking where I go.

Ghostery – Blocks and displays a popup to let you know when there’s an element on a web page trying to track you.

KB SSL Enforcer – Forces the website that you’re visiting to use https:// for browser encryption when it’s possible.  (This was the extension that had caused my “problem” earlier.

That’s about it.  I should also point out that I use

WOT – This displays a crowd sourced traffic light on links to give you a sense as to whether clicking on them will take you to a safe sight or one that those working the web have concerns about.

So, I’ll end with the question that I started with.  Is this too much paranoia?  I think there can be a danger when you have too many extensions doing too many similar things.  What do you think?  Any recommendations for what can be removed or replaced with something better?

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Doug,

    I am curious which extension you had to disable to make the page work. Chrome has basically stopped working for me in the last few days. I have updated my Flash Debug Player, but that seemed to have no effect. Even Google Reader stops responding to me.

    Ross

    Like this

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