December 6th, 2005

nice fish

Invasions of Privacy

Ah yes, something that's been bugging me for a while. Mocko's LJToys. Just for those of you who don't know, taken from the site:
LJToys is a system for tracking hits to your livejournal. Its fairly clever, some might even say sneaky, but all good dirty fun. It attempts to tell you the following things:
  • Who's read your posts
  • Where from (ip address, can be mapped to a particular location / person)
  • Changes to people's friend lists - mailed to you every night
  • Who on your friends list really reads your journal. And who doesn't. [Paid accounts]
  • Cute li'l charts of who's been reading your journal the most
  • Info on individual LJ users - how often we've seen them & where from (that last bit can be pretty interesting...
Also there's a bunch of extra-cool new stuff:
  • Custom web bugs - drop these into a web page and hits to it will magically appear in your readers list [paid accounts]
  • Graphs! Beautiful graphs of how many hits your journal has had each day.
  • Anonymous comment identification - LJToys tries to guess who made an anon. comment based on which of your friends were using LiveJournal at the time. An inexact science but hey, it kinda works. [Paid accounts]
I remember the furor that surrounded the invasion of privacy of embedded transparent gifs in posts to log such details. Well I for one dislike having information collected on my browsing habits without my knowledge or consent. There is an easy solution to this: block image loading from "". In FireFox, you can do this by going to Tools(menu)->Options->Content(tab). Click on the "Exceptions..." button for "Load Images" and enter "" (without quotes) and click "Block". Click "Close" and "OK" and enjoy browsing LJ without having your privacy breached. The images are used in mood icon sets, so you will no longer see those people's mood icons after the change.

While we're on about geeky things, if you have FireFox (don't forget 1.5 is out!), go and get FasterFox. Speed up your browser by tweaking things. I wouldn't recommend you use the link prefetch (see advanced settings to be sure you've turned it off) unless you are the only person using your connection, however, as it's likely to upset your work / flatmates etc.