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12.30.19

Quantcast: Not a Decent Way to Treat Site Visitors, Paying Members (Subscribers) Included

Posted in Security at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Phoronix “VALUES YOUR PRIVACY” (but not upstream)

Phoronix VALUES YOUR PRIVACY

Summary: Phoronix has a privacy problem and it prevents the site from broadening its reach or increasing its appeal to geeks

TECHRIGHTS supports Phoronix and this is why it cares. It doesn’t ignore the above issue, which is longstanding. Michael Larabel explained to me that a ‘parent’ company had imposed that (more or less). So I’ve researched this a little, having seen negative comments in the forums (in response to the fund-raiser, which ends right about now). I didn’t want to ‘interfere’ with this fund-raiser, so I withheld criticism for a while.

“…I’ve researched this a little, having seen negative comments in the forums (in response to the fund-raiser, which ends right about now).”Larabel is a hard-working man. Very hard-working. I can relate to his dedication. He now also needs to support 3 people (a baby was recently born). I totally get that. But having ‘only’ like a thousand trackers in every single page (notice that the above list is alphabetical), each tracker with its own unique surveillance policy (linked to from that list), is a little too much. Pages that should take just a second or so to load can take an order or magnitude longer to fully load. Most of what’s happening isn’t visible; it happens in the background, at many server sides and also at the user’s end, owing to proprietary JavaScript code. I studied this to the extent possible. The ‘gory’ JavaScript dissection is beyond the scope of this post. There’s locational tracking as well.

“As of several weeks ago, charts stopped showing up in benchmarks/articles unless JavaScript is enabled and that makes matters worse.”Never mind the paywall; never mind the many ads that accompany each page, forums included. I can understand why some Phoronix supporters would stop blocking ads in that site. To me, personally, the spying is the main issue. It makes each page like somewhat of a ‘malware’. Bloated also, but that’s a technical matter… as bloat/clumsiness does not necessarily imply malice.

May we politely and kindly suggest that Larabel speaks to the patron about removing that malicious surveillance from all pages? Based on the forums, this is rather off-putting. Readers are generally very technical, so they know what’s going on and some publicly complain. It reduces traffic, no doubt, and keeps some people off the site. Remove the spying and traffic will increase; Tux Machines would certainly link to it a lot more. It used to be a fast, lean site. That’s just no longer the case with JavaScript enabled. As of several weeks ago, charts stopped showing up in benchmarks/articles unless JavaScript is enabled and that makes matters worse. It makes some links dreadful to click on and some pages impossible to read (without running proprietary programs).

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