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February 9, 2024 at 18:22 #94545TwirlipGuest
This is something that has been bothering me for weeks now, but I’ve hesitated to post about it in case I’m being really stupid about a simple technical matter. If I am, I’m sorry!
As everybody knows, almost all websites are now obliged to display a pop-up window asking you what preferences you have regarding the storage of cookies on your device. These are always annoying, but some are much worse than others. The tolerable ones, in my opinion, are those that offer you a simple, clear, single-click option to “reject all”, “refuse consent”, or some such form of words.
It has long ago got to the point where I simply refuse to visit any website displaying a pop-up requiring you to scroll through perhaps literally hundreds of options, some of which are labelled “legitimate interest”, whatever the hell that means. I don’t care what it means. My eyes glaze over, and I lose the will to live.
So far, this personal policy hasn’t cost me anything. The websites that force you to go through this infuriating rigmarole tend to be absolutely bloody awful websites anyway. They’re no loss – at least, not to me.
But several weeks ago, Middle East Eye, a website I value very highly, started posting one of those obnoxious pop-ups. It reads:
“Your personal data will be processed and information from your device (cookies, unique identifiers, and other device data) may be stored by, accessed by and shared with 135 TCF vendor(s) and 65 ad partner(s), or used specifically by this site or app.
If you click on the “Manage options” button, you are confronted with one of those long, complicated lists – which, for the moment at least, I absolutely REFUSE to look at.
But because of my stubbornness (and possible stupidity), I have now missed at least one important article by Craig Murray, at least one by Peter Oborne, and I don’t know what else. Until today, I don’t think I missed any articles by Jonathan Cook, but his latest article at MEE has not yet appeared on his own website, and I want to read it now.
Will someone please tell me: how SHOULD I respond to the pop-up cookie preference window at Middle East Eye?February 9, 2024 at 20:22 #94556JackGuest
If you know the actual URLs you could select and copy those and then go to http://archive.is
then paste one url at the time below the text that says “I want to search the archive for saved snapshots”
Most likely the url has been saved and you could access the Middle East Eye and bypassing the cookie-questionnaire.February 9, 2024 at 21:00 #94561TwirlipGuest
Thank you for that suggestion. For some reason, the archive.is URL was slow to respond. (It hasn’t even timed out – I’m seeing only a completely blank page.) I went instead to https://archive.org/web/. Unfortunately, there I only got the message “Wayback Machine has not archived that URL” when I typed in the URL of today’s Jonathan Cook article. Also, I don’t know the URLs of any other articles I’ve missed. And I would need to be able to browse the MEE site itself, for instance to see a front page display of recent articles I may not have heard of, or to list all articles by a favourite author (such as the three I’ve mentioned). So I have to get past the dreaded cookie pop-up window somehow.February 9, 2024 at 21:29 #94562ETGuest
Opera is another option with a built in vpn.
What browser do you use on what platform?
Also, check out restoreprivacy.com.February 9, 2024 at 21:39 #94563ETGuest
That’s Cook’s latest article on MEE saved to wayback machine if that helps for now.February 9, 2024 at 23:30 #94564TwirlipGuest
That’s great – I can see that page. (It’s bedtime now, but I’ll read it tomorrow.) Thanks!
In answer to your earlier question: I’m using Firefox (latest version, 122.0.1, 64-bit) on Windows 10 Pro (22H2). It’s running on a laptop (a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad), which I essentially use as a desktop PC, plugged into an external monitor and USB keyboard and mouse.
I’m vaguely aware that a recent Firefox update included some new security feature (possibly Tools | Settings | Privacy & Security | Web Site Privacy Preferences?) that might conceivably be relevant, but I never studied it, and at first glance it seems to be unrelated to cookie settings.
I’m reluctant to install any kind of ad blocker, because YouTube now reacts with hostility to such things.
I’ve never felt inclined to get involved with VPNs, but I admit to being ignorant of their virtues and vices.
I always had Opera installed on my previous machines, but I rather went off it some years back, and I heard something pretty critical of recent versions of Opera on a YouTube video a few weeks ago, so I don’t want to install it.
I’m willing to install the Vivaldi browser, if that would be a good idea – I know nothing about it, but have heard only praise. It’s something I might want to do anyway, apart from this cookie setting problem. But I fear that the cookie setting problem would be much the same, no matter which browser I’m using. Surely any browser is obliged to display the pop-up settings page, and the user is required to respond to it in some way?
If at all possible, I’d like to get around the problem using Firefox just as it is, with no add-ons. It works fine for me in absolutely every other way, and has done so for years; it’s only the MEE website that is giving me this headache. But if it’s not possible to navigate around the problem simply using basic Firefox, then I suppose I’ll reluctantly have to consider some sort of technical (rather than manual) fix.
(I hope this has been readable and intelligible. I almost invariably find PC problems befuddling and maddening!)February 10, 2024 at 01:17 #94566will moonGuest
Hello Twirlip, don’t know about your problem but most if not all MEE articles are posted at a blog called Niqnaq, along with other regional and global media sources the curator of the site,Rowan Barkley, considers relevant. He posted at this site for a while I seem to rememberFebruary 10, 2024 at 13:38 #94585ClarkGuest
Some sites don’t work or partly work with scripts disabled, and it takes a while to build up a good whitelist. It’s swings and roundabouts. It’s interesting to see the list of domains each webpage pulls content from – the longer the list, the more commercial the site; some extreme examples invoke a scroll bar! YouTube works out pretty well; I have whitelisted just four options – inline scripts, 1st party scripts, google.com and ytimg.com – and everything works, I get no ads, and I hardly ever get their cookie preference dialogue.
I have Firefox set to clear cookies when I close it anyway, but to reopen tabs, so when I’ve been hopping about around more commercial sites and I’m starting to feel a bit tracked, I just close Firefox and reopen it.February 10, 2024 at 13:45 #94586ClarkGuest
Years ago I read that installing an ad blocker improves browser security because ad servers tend to be lax and host malware. Dunno how true that is; I just like blocking unnecessary stuff. It’s my bandwidth, I pay my ISP for it, and I object to ad companies sponging off it.February 10, 2024 at 14:54 #94587ETGuest
I’ve downloaded vivaldi today to give it a whirl. In short, use more than one browser for different functions.
@Clark. Check out bypass paywalls clean if you haven’t already.February 10, 2024 at 16:54 #94590TwirlipGuest
Niqnaq looks highly useful, but also somewhat overwhelming (and I’m already overwhelmed). An amazing illustration of what the Web can do. I wonder if it might make a good source for a news aggregator? I miss the days when Firefox could display RSS feeds. I’ve never got round to installing an aggregator, but probably should.February 10, 2024 at 17:30 #94593TwirlipGuest
I do understand that by some technical fix or other I could alter the behaviour of Firefox (or use or modify some other browser) in such a way that the baffling and annoying pop-up window would not appear at all.
I could then keep my fingers crossed, and hope and pray that the website’s default response (to whatever it is that I’ve done) would be to install no cookies at all, or to install essential cookies only. But this seems a bit of a gamble, because I wouldn’t have given the website any instructions at all regarding my preferences!
(It might be illegal for the website to install cookies without explicit permission; but has any website owner ever actually been prosecuted for doing that? Isn’t it more a matter of website designers everywhere feeling legally pressured to cover themselves, by APPEARING to give the user of the website a choice over cookies?)
I’ve probably rambled on far too long! Briefly: it is the website that is the problem, not my browser. I can see no reason (at least, no reason because of this one problem) to change what I’m doing on the Web generally. (No doubt there are many things that I’m doing wrong on the Web for other reasons.) How do I humanly negotiate my way through this barrier that this one website is putting in my way (and in the way of everyone else who visits it)?February 10, 2024 at 18:58 #94596ETGuest
Twirlip, both noscript and ublock origin allow you to block things on a per-site basis. So settings on one site won’t affect those of another. They’re both finely grained though there is a learning curve. I get the feeling that you don’t want the hassle of more complexity which is fair enough. Using either of them will give you insight into how much tracking etc there is. It’s eye opening.February 10, 2024 at 20:13 #94598TwirlipGuest
Thank you – that’s quite reassuring. I still hope that I won’t have to adopt a technical fix, but it’s good to know that there does exist a technical fix that will allow me to continue to browse other websites in my own sweet way!February 12, 2024 at 10:16 #94628ClarkGuest
I don’t mind sites reading and modifying their own cookies while I’m visiting, which is all my settings let them do, because the site could do all that on its own server; it’s just more elegant to do it at the client end. But without my global script blocking settings, my browser could and would be running scripts from any domain a visited webpage referenced, and anywhere that domain referenced, etc. ad infinitum.
I guess my attitude is different. I had been blocking as much stuff as I could be bothered to – ads, scripts, third-party cookies – for years before the EU decided to make a stupid law. It isn’t merely pointless; it’s actively misleading and has made the problem worse, but the occasional cookies preference dialogues it has caused are just another minor hassle on top of a large heap that had already been growing for years.February 12, 2024 at 10:39 #94630ClarkGuest
This is all back to front; to make my computer do less, I have to do more. To ensure that my browser and computer report fewer observations of my behaviour, make fewer complex computations for countless third parties, I have to learn more complex things, and make much more frequent and considered interventions. The more one ignores it, the more control remote interests can and do gain. The World Wide Web is over-automated and biased against the people – but that goes for almost everything these days.February 12, 2024 at 16:41 #94631ClarkGuest
The thing is, when you choose your cookie preferences for a website, they’re saved – as a cookie in your own browser. If, like me, you have your browser set to delete all cookies when you close it, when you return to that website and it asks your browser for any cookies it holds for the website’s domain, your browser replies “none”, so you’re presented with the cookie options dialogue again and the site treats you as a “new visit”. Unless you’re blocking scripts and the site’s cookie preference dialogue is implemented with scripts, in which case the entire pointless shuffle remains thankfully invisible.