Tags: activity, ads, block, browse, OLPC, privacy, proxy, XO
I have been noticing several post by people wondering how to block ads on their XO’s. Being familiar with Privoxy and it’s ability to block ads I decided to go ahead and try setting it up. It was fairly easy so here is a Quick Howto.
On your XO make sure you are connected to the net and then…
Open a terminal activity
Click the “become root” button (or enter the command: su - )
Enter the command:
yum install privoxy
Once it is done installing you will need to make one quick change to the config file. So type
Scroll down till you see the line:
change it to:
I had to do this because the /var/log/privoxy directory doesn’t survive the machine restarting.
Press CTRL+X to save and exit
You’ll now be back at the Terminal Activity prompt.
We need to tell Privoxy to start-up at boot time so type:
chkconfig privoxy on
We should also start privoxy now so type:
service privoxy start
Alright, now it is time to set up the Browse Activity. Exit the Terminal Activity. Start the Browse Activity and in the address bar type:
A rather daunting page will come up tht looks like this:
In the filter line type: proxy
The Screen will chance to look like this:
Now we need to change a couple of the settings.
double click on network.proxy.http
a dialogue will pop up letting you enter the new setting.
Enter localhost and click ok.
Now using the same technique change
network.proxy.http_port to 8118
network.proxy.ssl to localhost
netwok.proxy.ssl_port to 8118
network.proxy.type to 1
After doing so your screen should look like the image above (may not be exactly the same but the 5 settings I mentioned should now all be bold, have a status of “user set”, and the appropriate values).
Now we can test the settings.. in the address bar type p.p and you should get a screen that looks like this:
If instead you get a screen that looks like this:
Then either privoxy is not running or you entered one of the proxy settings incorrectly. Double check the setting in about:config. If they are fine go back to the Terminal Activity, become root, and type:
service privoxy restart
and watch the output carefully for errors.
Once you have it up and running I suggest giving it a couple of days on the default settings as privoxy is configured by befault to block may ads. If you find there are some annoying ads still getting through you can add extra rules to privoxy. Please read the documentation on the privoxy website before you embark on making changes. The built-in interface at http://p.p lets you add/modify rules if you change the approrpiate line in the config file (see the docs on the Privoxy website).
My next blog entry will be on using about:config to make browsing on the XO more private/secure.
Tags: bad, block, ISPs, phorm, privacy, spyware, stop
It seems that there is a lot of noise about Phorm in the Blogosphere and that it is just catching my attention recently. (odd really since I spend a lot of time reading on Security and Privacy matters).
So far it seems to be mainly ISP’s in the UK that have gone ahead with this very bad idea. That in no sense means it is a UK only problem as I am sure that Phorm will try to sign up as many ISP’s as they can globally. I would urge anyone who is interested in preserving their privacy to write to their respective ISP and let them know you don’t want them to implement Phorm webwise technology. It would definitely be worth noting in any letter that you send the history of “Phorm” which was formerly 121media which even just minor googling of, brings up their association with spyware.
If anyone has examples of Phorm mangled cookies, (paired with their un-mangled versions) I’d appreciate getting my hand on them to see if it is possible to write a Firefox add-on or proxy software that can strip the phorm tags back off the cookies thus rendering Phorm moot.
Another idea until there is a better solution to this might be for those of us in un-affected countries to run SSL proxies like Psiphon for people in the UK to tunnel through as that would (by my current understanding) encrypt the cookies (via the ssl tunnel) and thus make them invisible to the Phorm boxen.
addemdum — it seems (from the technical writeup mentioned in the Blue light Touchpaper Blog below) that even a simple proxy would work to bypass Phorm/WebWise as long as the proxy was not on port 80. For example, an open proxy on port 12000 or 443 or anything other then 80 would totally be ignored by Phorm/WebWise. Provided, of course, that the proxy was not on an infected (errrr, pardon me affected) ISP.
Thoughts and comments appreciated
addendum.. people in th UK on effected ISP’s may wish to consider using TOR and configure it to use non-UK exit nodes. not the best option and a little technical to set up (be sure to use torbutton and Privoxy). But possibly better then being tracked every step of the way. There is also I2P (I’ll provide a link when I can be sure I’m looking at the correct site.. their old URL seems defunct) but I that to be a bit bandwidth heavy. YMMV