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When Your e-Books Read You

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the they-get-bored-and-put-you-down dept.

Books 105

theodp writes "'Perhaps nothing will have as large an impact on advanced analytics in the coming year as the ongoing explosion of new and powerful data sources,' writes Bill Franks in Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave. And one of the hottest new sources of Big Data, reports the WSJ's Alexandra Alter in Your E-Book Is Reading You, is the estimated 40 million e-readers and 65 million tablets in use in the U.S. that are ripe for the picking by data scientists working for Amazon, Apple, Google, and Barnes & Noble. Some privacy watchdogs argue that e-book users should be protected from having their digital reading habits recorded. 'There's a societal ideal that what you read is nobody else's business,' says the EFF's Cindy Cohn."

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Obligatory Yakov Smirnoff (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40504147)

In Capitalist America, book reads you!

In Soviet Union... (1)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | about 2 years ago | (#40504589)

You read ebooks!

Re:Obligatory Yakov Smirnoff (1)

fferreres (525414) | about 2 years ago | (#40506809)

And more seriously, I think that the solution is to use capitalism itself, which has a fundamental principle of private property. If my activity, information, habits and likes are my private company, you cannot use it unless I sold it to you. Just like you cannot take a picture of a celebrity and use that to promote a product or conduct business (only to report).

Same here. Companies should not be allowed to steal property from citizens. Their individual behavior is their own asset, whether thinking of it as their IP, asset or holding it copyright. EULAs that require surrendering it freely should be unenforceable and companies using unlicenced private data property should be fined and imprisioned.

What you do and what you read is your individual private is an economic matter, and it's now being hoarded to make money and without your consent: that's stealing.

Re:Obligatory Yakov Smirnoff (2)

aisrael (1266098) | about 2 years ago | (#40508879)

"Unless I sold it to you" or unless I clicked through a EULA that effectively waived all my privacy rights just so I could play SomeVille and see cat photos posted by my friends for 'free'.

Then it would be fair to say.. (1)

GigaBurglar (2465952) | about 2 years ago | (#40504155)

You live in Soviet Russia.

Re:Then it would be fair to say.. (2, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#40504397)

You live in Soviet Russia.

The distinctions have begun to get pretty blurry lately.

But think of the advertisers (1)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#40504157)

I'm pretty sure it will be sold to us with discounts and targeted recommendations. But I'm not looking forward to it.

Re:But think of the advertisers (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40504261)

I am. That way I can buy one cheap to hack and make into a normal device.

Kind of like the Kindle "special offers edition" Smacked those ad's and other crud right out of there. Yes I shed a tear nightly for all the engineers that live on the streets due to my actions.

Re:But think of the advertisers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40508409)

Wow, I am a hard core pirate / IP theif and even *I* think that by opting for the special offers edition (and thereby saving however much $ you did) you're ethically (and contractually) obligated to view the adverts. So go you for one upping even my views ;)

Re:But think of the advertisers (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 2 years ago | (#40515521)

buy one cheap to hack and make into a normal device.

The hack possibly being as simple as a disc of aluminium foil pasted over the camera that reads your eye orientation.

(There are no doubt harder-to-avoid ways of doing the "attention detection", but they're likely to be more expensive.)

Putting data onto and off the device by removing the (mobile telephony/ data) SIM and using the device as USB mass storage, or swapping SD cards, would probably help prevent data leakage / data theft too.

Re:But think of the advertisers (1)

dhasenan (758719) | about 2 years ago | (#40504679)

I'm all for behaviorally targeted recommendations. I want to be able to opt out, but I'd definitely opt in.

I imagine this should fall under the standard behavioral targeting rules, where you must be informed that this is going on and have an option to opt out.

Why does it take a watchdog? (4, Funny)

Teresita (982888) | about 2 years ago | (#40504159)

Someday some genius is going to have the bright idea of being the sole content provider who does not mine users' personal data for targeted ads. And people will sign up in droves for all the pent-up demand.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504175)

Right. The average person is even aware that their data's being mined.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#40504219)

Someday some genius is going to have the bright idea of being the sole content provider who does not mine users' personal data for targeted ads. And people will sign up in droves for all the pent-up demand.

Most users are not conscious that their data is being mined. And even of those who are and have a problem with it, a majority of those who voice their displeasure will go ahead and continue using the product nonetheless. The result is that users who really insist on privacy are such a small group that it is hard to build a business from them. "Droves" is not a word.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504303)

You are very right, except for your last sentence.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (0)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#40504359)

I meant that "droves" is not an appropriate word for the amount of people one can expect such a company to attract, not that "droves" is not a word at all.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40504647)

Then why didn't you write that?

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40505873)

To GP poster: You should have written "droves is not the word" instead of "droves is not a word".

To parent poster: Helpful is not the word.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#40504453)

Someday some genius is going to have the bright idea of being the sole content provider who does not mine users' personal data for targeted ads. And people will sign up in droves for all the pent-up demand.

Most users are not conscious that their data is being mined. And even of those who are and have a problem with it, a majority of those who voice their displeasure will go ahead and continue using the product nonetheless. The result is that users who really insist on privacy are such a small group that it is hard to build a business from them. "Droves" is not a word.

Yet supposedly the data-mining aspect was the primary reason the CueCat [] failed.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

Kozz (7764) | about 2 years ago | (#40504535)

Yet supposedly the data-mining aspect was the primary reason the CueCat [] failed.

I thought it failed because it was a dumb idea.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#40504557)

Yet supposedly the data-mining aspect was the primary reason the CueCat [] failed.

The article notes that the company's product did not seem to fill any real need. That is the primary reason it failed. Only a niche of users got upset at the privacy implications.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40504735)

The QR codes which pop up everywhere left and right serve the exact same purpose. Strangely enough, they do seem to fill a real need.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

nbsr (2343058) | about 2 years ago | (#40505383)

The need wasn't strong enough to justify a purchase of a dedicated reader. Especially that there is a critical mass effect involved.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40505635)

And that's despite their self-imposed limitation to just cellphone scanning.

I'm going to focus on the colorful-triangles implementation from Microsoft, since I think standard QR codes can give way to URLs that have no need to track you via central servers:

Pretty hard even for geeks to just snap a picture to decode the JPEG at leisure and in an offline environment. Apps are designed to jump online, decode and force you to the destination, which has prompted some Norton to offer a service that asks first before visiting the site. Apparently the teams building QR-like codes wanted tracking the CONSUMER as #1 design reason... behind the protocol, rather than actually informing you about the product it advertises.

A PC that could just tell you without triggering the tracking

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (2)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | about 2 years ago | (#40504763)

"Droves" is not a word.

Drove []

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

lennier (44736) | about 2 years ago | (#40509347)

"Droves" is not a word.

Crikey! Is that the dinkum oil? Many drovers [] would be right gobsmacked to hear you say that, mate.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40504947)

I think you're missing the point. Often this data is worth more than the device itself. When you're reading books on Herpes management or something, and they use your internet connected TV to start flooding you with herpes treatment commercials... and now have you tied down buying medication at $100/month for the rest of your life... The value of knowing exactly what to put in front of your eyeballs quickly dwarfs the value of whatever device you're using to access the data their mining. We are likely to see, in the near future, free smartphones, ebooks, tablets, whatever... in exchange for mining all of our data. Eventually I doubt it will even be possible to buy a device that doesn't mine your data.

Generally I'm a libertarian, but this is a rare case where the direction the free market will take us is a bad place indeed. The only real solution here is clearly written legislation. Unfortunately that is very unlikely. Sort of some tragic event happening and making national news (maybe pedophiles using this data for some nefarious purpose) I doubt it will ever come up in congress.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

fferreres (525414) | about 2 years ago | (#40506877)

What if the reality where that private data is private property? As a work of art or a thing itself. I believe that if I paint a like in a canvas I own it. If I write a poem I own it. Data I generate that is associated with me, is another form of expression, and I should own it. The problem is that how it's bern framed, as "privacy" as something I don't own, but may have some ethical reason for trying to prevent mining is the wrong approach. As a true libertarian things are simple: private data is private property of the citizen that created it. If you want use it, you must license it from the owner. Requiring the user to forfeit that right to use a service is illegal and a criminal act, theft.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

ambidextroustech (2597091) | about 2 years ago | (#40518701)

What if the reality where that private data is private property? As a work of art or a thing itself. I believe that if I paint a like in a canvas I own it. If I write a poem I own it. Data I generate that is associated with me, is another form of expression, and I should own it. The problem is that how it's bern framed, as "privacy" as something I don't own, but may have some ethical reason for trying to prevent mining is the wrong approach. As a true libertarian things are simple: private data is private property of the citizen that created it. If you want use it, you must license it from the owner. Requiring the user to forfeit that right to use a service is illegal and a criminal act, theft.

Unfortunately, data is atomic, unlike a work of art.

Computers manipulate data to produce information, which humans find useful and relevant.

And most often this data mining occurs because your data is on their property, which is why I will never subscribe to cloud computing. If anything you're a lessee and Google, or wherever, is like your landlord; essentially if privacy is to be observed, legislation will have to be introduced similar to that of Tenant's Rights.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40509229)

In free market, market is free to sell _you_.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#40505251)

This is why I like buying ebook readers from Irex or from some obscure Korean hardware company. Because these companies are in the hardware business, not in the content business or in the assrape-your-customers-by-selling-their-personal-data business. And that means their goal is to sell me hardware that works well for me. Sony and Philipsmare still more or less ok; they do content as well and thus are fans of DRm, but at least they haven't build their business models around data mining like Amazon or Google.

Re:Why does it take a watchdog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40511937)

One day e-readers will be able to scan the reader's eyes to determine which phrases they stay on the longest or measure heartbeats or whatever to get the physiological reactions to ideas. Then the advertisers will be able to adjust their photos and script to the individual level to give them the eye candy they really would want.

What's different about an ereader? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40504169)

Rented videos? Noted. Subscribed to a magazine? Noted. Visited a web site? Noted. Searched for something? Noted.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40504267)

bought a dead tree book at Barnes and noble?: Noted.

All this stuff you point out already happens and is in your lexis Nexis report for $50.00 Yes I can see what books you have bought already.

worried about privacy? get rid of your bank accounts, ATM cars and Credit cards. Although give it time and the security cameras at the stores will identify and log you.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (1, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#40504529)

You retain 99% of your privacy just by using cash. Most people are too stupid and/or lazy to consider this an option, though.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40506879)

Hard to use cash when buying stuff online.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40504565)

Yes I can see what books you have bought already.

But not which pages of the book you've read.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (1)

akeeneye (1788292) | about 2 years ago | (#40505215)

I buy my dead-tree books used at brick+mortar used bookstores. I often pay cash because they're only a couple of bucks usually and I tend to have a couple of bucks on me. So: not noted. I'm not going out of my way to prevent the Big Brothers of industry and gov't from tracking my reading habits, yet. I'm just a cheap bastard and I like the character of physical books. This article is giving me another reason to become an exclusive cash+used-book buyer. I can see no attributes of ebook readers or ebooks that add value to ME over paper books, and they will only continue to mutate into privacy viruses.

What I'll do when dead-tree books are killed off, I don't know.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40506851)

"What I'll do when dead-tree books are killed off, I don't know."

Resort to pirated DRM removed versions that can be read on an ereader that has all it's spyware removed.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (1)

fferreres (525414) | about 2 years ago | (#40506893)

Can you point me to this "service"? I ddn't know they could report that per person. I'd appreciate that. Thanks

Re:What's different about an ereader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40509987) it has a secret interface in the middle of the screen where you can type a keyword like "LexisNexis" into it.

On a less scolding note, lumpy is right... They are scary as hell to the amount of info they have on you if you are an american citizen.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504307)

Rented videos? Noted..

No, not noted [] by law. It's why Netflix pitched a hissy that they're not allowed to auto-publish your video rental history on Facebook []

Re:What's different about an ereader? (5, Informative)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#40504433)

Rented videos? Noted. Subscribed to a magazine? Noted. Visited a web site? Noted. Searched for something? Noted.

Not even scratched the surface. How about "last page read", "text highlighted", "bookmarks taken", "time spent reading"? These are all things that B&N and Amazon know about your reading habits that weren't covered in your "don't worry-be happy" list.

It's one thing to notice what book the person across the room is reading, but standing behind them and taking notes is a whole level up from there.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (4, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 2 years ago | (#40504585)

...but standing behind them and taking notes is a whole level up from there.

Which is pretty much why I rip the DRM out of any book I buy (for futureproofing) and only use my reader device offline, using Calibre [] to manage content.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about 2 years ago | (#40507105)

Calibre's great - I use it in conjunction with my Nokia N900 and (open-source) FBReader app, which works perfectly(and strips all that crappy formatting included with some Ebooks, stripping it down to the level of a RTF).

Re:What's different about an ereader? (1)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | about 2 years ago | (#40515297)

...but standing behind them and taking notes is a whole level up from there.

Which is pretty much why I rip the DRM out of any book I buy (for futureproofing) and only use my reader device offline, using Calibre [] to manage content.

Seconded. Amazon must be pretty confused by my reading habits -- with any book I buy from them I only ever view the cover page in KindlePC for about one second :)

Re:What's different about an ereader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504479)

Saw the doctor? Noted. Diagnosis? Noted. I think the difference is that nobody cares about privacy any more, and ereaders are even less significant.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (1)

zmughal (1343549) | about 2 years ago | (#40505549)

Saw the doctor? Noted. Diagnosis? Noted.

Noted, but not as open records, c.f. HIPPA privacy rules.

Re:What's different about an ereader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504515)

One of the question I'm still wondering is if all this data is really relevant.
I might be an outlier of an outlier, but for example, I've bought a lot of stuff on Amazon and so far all the recommended stuff doesn't interest me.

Block trackers easily (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504193)

With something you have already natively: Your hosts file!

I use custom hosts in the following ways (see my 'p.s.' below, in detail, for your reference) to COMPLIMENT & OVERCOME PROBLEMS IN DNS & OTHER MECHANISMS LARGELY & more efficiently!

Custom hosts files gain me the following benefits (A short summary of where custom hosts files can be extremely useful):


1.) Blocking out malware/malscripted sites
2.) Blocking out Known sites-servers/hosts-domains that are known to serve up malware
3.) Blocking out Bogus DNS servers malware makers use
4.) Blocking out Botnet C&C servers
5.) Blocking out Bogus adbanners that are full of malicious script content
6.) Getting you back speed/bandwidth you paid for by blocking out adbanners + hardcoding in your favorite sites (faster than remote DNS server resolution)
7.) Added reliability (vs. downed or misdirect/poisoned DNS servers).
8.) Added "anonymity" (to an extent, vs. DNS request logs)
9.) The ability to bypass DNSBL's (DNS block lists you may not agree with).
10.) More screen "real estate" (since no more adbanners appear onscreen eating up CPU, Memory, & other forms of I/O too - bonus!)
11.) Truly UNIVERSAL PROTECTION (since any OS, even on smartphones, usually has a BSD drived IP stack).
12.) Faster & MORE EFFICIENT operation vs. browser plugins (which "layer on" ontop of Ring 3/RPL 3/usermode browsers - whereas the hosts file operates @ the Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode of operation (far faster) as a filter for the IP stack itself...)
13.) Blocking out TRACKERS
14.) Custom hosts files work on ANY & ALL webbound apps (browser plugins do not).
15.) Custom hosts files offer a better, faster, more efficient way, & safer way to surf the web & are COMPLETELY controlled by the end-user of them.


* & FAR more... read on below IF you are interested (for detail).

AND, for those of you that run Microsoft Windows 32 or 64 bit? An automated hosts file creation & mgt. program: []

(You simply extract its files to ANY folder you like (usually one you create for it, doesn't matter where, but you MUST run it as administrator (simple & the "read me" tab shows how easy THAT is to do))

What's it do for you?

It's a custom hosts file mgt. program that does the following for end users (Calling it "APK Hosts File Engine 5.0++") after it obtains custom hosts file data from 12 of the reputable & reliable sources listed below:


1.) Offers massively noticeable increased speed for websurfing via blocking adbanners

2.) Offers increased speed for users fav. sites by hardcoding them into the hosts file for faster IP address-to-host/domain name resolutions (which sites RARELY change their hosting providers, e.g.-> of 250 I do, only 6 have changed since 2006 - & when sites do because they found a less costly hosting provider? Then, they either email notify members, put up warnings on their pages, & do IP warnings & redirectors onto the former IP address range to protect vs. the unscrupulous criminal bidding on that range to buy it to steal from users of say, online banking or shopping sites).

3.) Better "Layered-Security"/"Defense-In-Depth" via blocking host-domain based attacks by KNOWN bad sites-servers that are known to do so (which IS, by far, the majority of what's used by both users (hence the existence of the faulty but for most part working DNS system), AND even by malware makers (since host-domain names are recyclable by they, & the RBN (Russian Business Network & others)) were doing it like mad with "less than scrupulous", or uncaring, hosting providers)

4.) Better 'anonymity' to an extent vs. DNS request logs (not vs. DPI ("deep packet inspection"))

5.) The ability to circumvent unjust DNSBL (DNS Block Lists) if unjust or inconveniences a user.

6.) Protection vs. online trackers

7.) Better security vs. the DNS system being "dns poisoned/redirected" (a known problem for recursive DNS servers via port 51/53 misdirection)

8.) Write protecting the hosts file every 1/2 second (supplementing UAC) - even if/when you move it from the default location via this registry entry (which if done, can function ALMOST like *NIX shadow passwords because of this program):


And changing the "DataBasePath" parameter there (I do this moving it to a faster media, a "true SSD" using DDR-2 RAM, in the 4gb Gigabyte IRAM I have).

9.) Automatic downloading & Alphabetic sorting of hosts files' records entries (for easier end user mgt. manually) from 15 reliable sources (of 17 I actually use).

10.) Manual editing of all files used (hosts to import list, hosts itself in its default location of %windir%\system32\drivers\etc, the hosts files to import/download & process, & favorite sites to reverse dns ping to avoid DNS (noted above why)).

11.) Removal scanners (if the users decide to remove hosts entries from imported data they can check if the site is indeed known as bad or not (sometimes 'false positives' happen, or just bad entries, or sites clean themselves up after infestation due to vulnerable coding etc./et al)).

12.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Comments (useless bulk in a hosts file that's "all business")

13.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Trailing comments after records (produces duplicates)

14.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Invalid TLD entries (program checks this in a BETTER method than the API call "PathIsURL")

15.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Trims entries (vs. trailing blanks bloat on record entries)

16.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like the conversion of the larger & SLOWER blocking "loopback adapter" address (slower due to larger size bytes wise to parse, & slower if loopback happens) to the smaller/faster to parse & load

17.) Uniformity of ALL entries in hosts (as to records inserted & format they use - reducing bloat AND repeated bloating entries).

18.) Filtration-Removal of sites that IF in a hosts file are KNOWN to cause problems on larger portals that use CDN etc.

19.) Custom hosts files protect ALL webbound programs, not just webbrowsers (like AdBlock addons, & it doesn't even block ALL adbanners by default anymore) & it does so @ a more efficient faster level (Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode) acting merely as a filter for the PnP design IP stack, vs. the slower level webbrowser programs & their addons operate in (Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode), which addons slow them even more by "layering on" parsing & processing that browser addons layer on.

20.) Custom hosts files also offer the speedup to favorite sites noted above, & even firewalls + browser addons do NOT offer that...


& MORE, in roughly 15 minutes runtime (on an Intel Core I7 920 Quad/4 core cpu @ 2.67ghz) & faster on faster CPU's (e.g. - Intel Core I7 3960 "extreme" 6-7 core CPUs = 7 minute runtime) & slower on slower CPU's (Intel 1.5ghz Celeron single core = 45 minutes).

* The malwarebytes/hpHosts site admin another person/site hosting it (Mr. Steven Burn, a competent coder in his own right), said it's "excellent" in fact and has seen its code too...

(Write him yourselves should anyone doubt any of this -> , or see his site @ [] )

A Mr. Henry Hertz Hobbitt of &/or can also verify that this program is safe - write him @ ->

It'll be releasing soon to sites that host 64-bit programs (even though it also has a 32-bit model, line for line the same code except for 32 in place of 64 in its help file & user interface)!

I told myself (since i built it in late 2003 in version 1.0++ & have rebuilt it 5x since in Borland Delphi 3.0/5.0/7.0 32-bit & currently into 64-bit using Delphi XE2) IF things didn't get better on the "malware front", out it would go for the general public to get the above enumerated multiple & versatile benefits custom hosts yield for end users (mainly saving them money on speed + bandwidth they pay for each month as well as added "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth" AND reliability all noted above)


P.S.=> Details of the above synopsis/short summary are as follows below:

21++ ADVANTAGES OF HOSTS FILES (over browser plugins for security, &/or DNS servers):

(Over AdBlock & DNS Servers ALONE 4 Security, Speed, Reliability, & Anonymity (to an extent vs. DNSBL's + DNS request logs)).

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program). A truly "multi-platform" UNIVERSAL solution for added speed, security, reliability, & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs + DNSBL's you feel are unjust hosts get you past/around).

2.) Adblock blocks ads? Well, not anymore & certainly not as well by default, apparently, lol - see below:

Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option [] )

AND, in only browsers & their subprogram families (ala email like Thunderbird for FireFox/Mozilla products (use same gecko & xulrunner engines)), but not all, or, all independent email clients, like Outlook, Outlook Express, OR Window "LIVE" mail (for example(s)) - there's many more like EUDORA & others I've used over time that AdBlock just DOES NOT COVER... period.

Disclaimer: Opera now also has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc..

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF (non-mozilla/gecko engine based) family based wares, So AdBlock doesn't protect email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows "LIVE" mail & others like them (EUDORA etc./et al), Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 5-7 next below, & especially vs. the July 12th 2012 "DNSChanger" trojan purge that's coming soon (those folks won't get to sites if infested - I will, due to hardcodes in my hosts file of my fav. 20 sites + using BETTER filtering DNS servers (see list below))...

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, OR make you reach them faster since you resolve host-domain names LOCALLY w/ hosts out of cached memory, hosts do ALL of those things (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> [] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions ( via NSLOOKUP, PINGS (ping -a in Windows - functions for "reverse DNS lookups"), &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

* NOW - Some folks MAY think that putting an IP address alone into your browser's address bar will be enough, so why bother with HOSTS, right? WRONG - Putting IP address in your browser won't always work IS WHY. Some IP adresses host several domains & need the site name to give you the right page you're after is why. So for some sites only the HOSTS file option will work!

6.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles (or ELECTRICITY) like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTLY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can since hosts files run in MORE EFFICIENT & FASTER Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode operations acting merely as a filter for the IP stack (via the "Plug-N-Play" designed IP stack in Windows) vs. SLOWER & LESS EFFICIENT Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode operations (which webbrowsers run in + their addons like AdBlock slow down even MORESO due to their parsing operations).

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than remote DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server, typically 30-100's of ms, vs. 7-10ms HardDisk speed of access/seek + SSD seek in ns, & back to you - hosts resolutions of IP address for host-domain names is FAR faster...). Hosts are only a filter for an already fast & efficient IP stack, no more layered b.s. (remote OR local). Hosts eat less CPU, RAM, I/O in other forms, + electricity than a locally running DNS server easily, and less than a local DNS program on a single PC. Fact. Hosts are easier to setup & maintain too.

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:

Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were: [] []

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> []

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> [] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code (to customize it better than the GUI front does @ least). With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL (even moreso "automagically" for Vista, 7/Server 2008 + beyond by UAC by default) &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:


US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth: []

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)


Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for:



And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:



As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It: []


Even WORSE still, is this:

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing: []


15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy [] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> [] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: [] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:


Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads: []


Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services: []


Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again): []


Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody: []


Google sponsored links caught punting malware: []


DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads: []


Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users: []


Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer: []


Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware: []


Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge: []


Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware: []


Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC: []


Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills: []


Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web: []


Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware: []












London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware: []


Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads: []


As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:


Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills: []


AND, for protection vs. other "botnets" migrating from the PC world, to "smartphones" such as ZITMO (a ZEUS botnet variant): []


It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> []

HOSTS files are NOT THAT EASILY "webbug" BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked on AdBlock in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:



An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM []

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."


"Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!


19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):



"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like (which protects the Firefox browser)...


20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

21.) Custom HOSTS files gain users back more "screen real estate" by blocking out banner ads... it's great on PC's for speed along with MORE of what I want to see/read (not ads), & efficiency too, but EVEN BETTER ON SMARTPHONES - by far. It matters MOST there imo @ least, in regards to extra screen real-estate.

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock ( [] ), IE 9's new TPL's ( [] ), &/or NoScript ( [] especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock ( [] ) does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:


DNS flaw reanimates slain evil sites as ghost domains: []


BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here: []



(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)


DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that): []

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)


Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even NORTON DNS (more on each specifically below), & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)


DNS Hijacks Now Being Used to Serve Black Hole Exploit Kit: []


DNS experts admit some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak: []


Potential 0-Day Vulnerability For BIND 9: []


Five DNS Threats You Should Protect Against: []


DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards: []


Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!) []




TimeWarner DNS Hijacking: []


DNS Re-Binding Attacks: []


DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture: []


Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability: []


BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning: []


DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs: []


DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion: []


High Severity BIND DNS Vulnerability Advisory Issued: []


Photobucket's DNS Records Hijacked: []


Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks: []


DNS Problem Linked To DDoS Attacks Gets Worse: []


HOWEVER - Some DNS servers are "really good stuff" vs. phishing, known bad sites/servers/hosts-domains that serve up malware-in-general & malicious scripting, botnet C&C servers, & more, such as:

Norton DNS -> []
ScrubIT DNS -> []
OpenDNS -> []

(Norton DNS in particular, is exclusively for blocking out malware, for those of you that are security-conscious. ScrubIT filters pr0n material too, but does the same, & OpenDNS does phishing protection. Each page lists how & why they work, & why they do so. Norton DNS can even show you its exceptions lists, plus user reviews & removal procedures requests, AND growth stats (every 1/2 hour or so) here -> [] so, that ought to "take care of the naysayers" on removal requests, &/or methods used plus updates frequency etc./et al...)

HOWEVER - There's ONLY 1 WEAKNESS TO ANY network defense, including HOSTS files (vs. host-domain name based threats) & firewalls (hardware router type OR software type, vs. IP address based threats): Human beings, & they not being 'disciplined' about the indiscriminate usage of javascript (the main "harbinger of doom" out there today online), OR, what they download for example... & there is NOTHING I can do about that! (Per Dr. Manhattan of "The Watchmen", ala -> "I can change almost anything, but I can't change human nature")

HOWEVER AGAIN - That's where NORTON DNS, OpenDNS, &/or ScrubIT DNS help!

(Especially for noob/grandma level users who are unaware of how to secure themselves in fact, per a guide like mine noted above that uses "layered-security" principles!)

ScrubIT DNS, &/or OpenDNS are others alongside Norton DNS (adding on phishing protection too) as well!

( & it's possible to use ALL THREE in your hardware NAT routers, and, in your Local Area Connection DNS properties in Windows, for again, "Layered Security" too)...




"Ever since I've installed a host file ( to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday DecbTimeWarner DNS Hijacking:ember 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: [] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398) Homepage Journal

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. [] and [] FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525) Homepage Journal

"A hosts file certainly does not require "a lot of work" to maintain, and it quite effectively kills a LOT of advertising and tracking schemes. . In fact, I never would have considered trying to use it for ddefending against viruses or malware." - by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday December 30 2010, @05:48PM (#34715060)

"That is, do the things you would normally do to secure your own machine from malware, intrusive advertising, and vulnerabilities. Use the hosts file to block certain domains from being accessible." - by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday June 22, @12:57AM (#40407865)

"Ad blocking hosts file, I use it as an adult ;-) [] " - by RJFerret (1279530) on Friday June 22, @01:15AM (#40407983) Homepage

"There is probably a decent list of domains out there that you can put in your hosts file so that lookups for these fail. I assume you're more concerned about accidental adverts and such, which is a fair concern considering how many sites have em" - by ieatcookies (1490517) on Friday June 22, @01:21AM (#40408005)

"I find mapping hosts to is faster, because it's not a valid IP address, so the DNS subsystem of your OS will ignore it without trying to connect. There are several hostfile collections out there. I merged three of them several years ago just for my own freedom from ads and other junk. I currently have 131572 host names zero'd out." - by Dracos (107777) on Friday June 22, @01:34AM (#40408085)

"I also use linux a lot more now and, beyond a custom hosts file, don't have any active antivirus software beyond what comes with Ubuntu" - by sneakyimp (1161443) on Friday June 22, @04:26PM (#40416169)


Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:


Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):


"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!


"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 [] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> [] !


"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> [] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> [] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!


* THE HOSTS FILE GROUP 34++ THUSFAR (from +5 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> []
HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> [] in HOSTS:2009 -> [] IN HOSTS:2009 -> [] in HOSTS:2009 -> [] in HOSTS:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> [] (still says INSIGHTFUL)
HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP vs. SOPA act: 2012 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP vs. FaceBook b.s.: 2012 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP "how to secure smartphones": 2012 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP "Free Apps Eat your Battery via ad displays": 2012 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP "How I only hardcode in 50 of my fav. sites": 2012 -> []


* "Here endeth the lesson..." and, if you REALLY want to secure your system? Please refer to this: []


P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also in the form of TPL (tracking protection lists -> [] , good stuff )) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem ( offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once? GET CACHED! Right into the kernelmode diskcaching subsystem (fast & efficient RAM speed), for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcache (like ANY file is), so it reads F A S T upon re-reads/subsequent reads (until it's changed in %WinDir%\system32\drivers\etc on Windows, which marks it "Dirty" & then it gets re-read + reloaded into the local diskcache again). This may cause a SMALL initial load 1 time lag upon reload though, depending on the size of your HOSTS file.

E.) HOSTS files don't protect vs. BGP exploits - Sorry, once it's out of your hands/machine + past any interior network + routers you have, the packets you send are out there into the

Re:Block trackers easily (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40504543)

Where is the hosts file on my ebook reader?

Re:Block trackers easily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40505333)

where is your manual or documentation?

Here - try this... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40510583)

Fair question - Check GOOGLE for the particulars of your model/brand of EBook Reader -> []

* Perusing some of those, I saw Linux listed as the Operating System for them!

(So YES - thus, it is possible to use custom HOSTS files on those that use Linux as the OS, because it uses a BSD derived IP stack then most likely)...


P.S.=> Others suggested you begin checking the manual or documentation for your particular model for the hosts file location on such systems, so in lieu of that (provided you don't have any tech specs of that nature in hardcopy form there)?

Use the query from GOOGLE above!

(It'll probably assist you in that capacity!)

You'll most likely need tools to migrate the newly created custom hosts files from where you imported it from, a PC is a possible!

(Tools like ADB - Android Debugging Bridge is for ANDROID smartphones)

Unfortunately - That's where my "know-how" here stops for EBook readers (I don't use them myself)...

Thus, your question demands that you search for that type of tool yourself, provided it actually EXISTS for such purposes on EBook Readers - get back to us IF you find the way, as it would be good to know even IF I don't use such devices myself...

Good luck - hosts files help in many ways! apk

Re:Here - try this... apk (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40511671)

Fascinating ... I should have looked much earlier. There's a complete Linux file system in a tar file (which of course contains an /etc directory). There's also an XML file in it with some suggestive entries:

<!-- Brand settings -->
<ManualFilename>/home/books/OYO I Thalia Neue FW final content.pdf</ManualFilename>

So if I understand correctly, by editing that file up front, even forced registration could have been bypassed (however it might not have allowed access to the files prior to registration).

On some webpage [] (German language) I've even found how to get a terminal to it (I can't currently check, though, because I don't have a MicroSD card available).

Maybe it's even possible to add a better PDF reader :-)

There you go - Good job... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515837)

Well, it sounds like you have familiarity with Linux on your end, so you're probably "right @ home" as to how to handle it on that account I'd imagine!

* Which by this time, I'm @ my limit on EReaders - as I don't own one myself!


P.S.=> Read carefully, do a good job, & good luck - you're already 1/2 way there just knowing what it is you're working with @ a rudimentary level rather than being "in the dark" completely... apk

Next step... (2)

jejones (115979) | about 2 years ago | (#40504209) per read?

Re:Next step... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40504533)

Pay per second displayed.

Re:Next step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40505183)

Pay per character on your screen.

Re:Next step... (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#40508395)

Pay per read word...

They have software that can tell what your eye is looking at and it charges you per word.

Solution: Just read the ending. Spoiler: The Butler did it. He always does it.

This one is pretty easy to solve (3, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40504251)

Don't buy books from those vendors, don't enable wifi on your reading device.

My nook touch hasn't checked in since the day it was registered ( which was required to make it work.. grrr )

Root your device (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40504315)

The problem is proprietary software. This is a feature that could theoretically be included in free software, but which the users would just remove and distribute a fork.

Yet everyone said we were crazy when we warned about proprietary ebooks and reader software...

Re:Root your device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504713)

Make that present tense. Everyone (except misfits who browse Slashdot) thinks you (and I) are raving lunatics.

Re:Root your device (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40504891)

Welcome to the club. :)

Re:This one is pretty easy to solve (1)

Gertlex (722812) | about 2 years ago | (#40505035)

In my case, I think I'm safe...

I buy some ebooks from B&N. I then break the DRM with good ole Python, and toss the epub files onto my iPod Touch to be read in Stanza. Granted, Stanza was bought by Amazon a few years ago, but no one's forcing me to install any hypothetical updates to the app.*

*Actually there was an update in November to make stanza work with iPads, or something. This resulted in Stanza not working on iOS 4. But that's what jailbreak+Cydia+Installus is for...

Re:This one is pretty easy to solve (1)

Gertlex (722812) | about 2 years ago | (#40505047)

Slashdot ate my 'less than' symbol. The update mean iOS 3 devices couldn't run Stanza.

Re:This one is pretty easy to solve (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40505157)

In my case, i only use drm-less files, epub or pdf. And i get them via my non windows PC, then transfer them via cable to my reading device(s).

One reason i don't have wifi on is i didn't want B&N to push an update down and break my device, like they did what the nook color. Cant trust anyone it seems. Ironically, my tablet i got direct from china is more 'mine' than the stuff from here in the states.

Nook Color (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40505167)

I meant nook tablet.. doh.

Be nice if we had a edit last post feature around here.

Re:Nook Color (1)

slashrio (2584709) | about 2 years ago | (#40505841)

Be nice if we had a edit last post feature around here.

There is a 'preview' button though ;)

Re:This one is pretty easy to solve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40506403)

Please don't buy anything with DRM. You're sending them the message that DRM is OK.

Re:This one is pretty easy to solve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40506887)

It seems a little late for that.

Re:This one is pretty easy to solve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40507325)

Look at music purchases, DRM is pretty much gone there.

It can happen for movies and ebooks as well and we can do something about it. (Of course by "we" I don't just mean Slashdot, but it's a start.)

Uh what? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40504257)

"'There's a societal ideal that what you read is nobody else's business,'" ... no, no there isn't. It's at least the business of whoever is selling you the book... literally. That doesn't change when you add on the internet.

Re:Uh what? (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40504323)

Knowing which books you buy is not equivalent to knowing which books you read. You can be buying a gift, you can be making a donation to a library, you could receive a book from someone else, etc. The difference here is that the software is designed to spy on you.

Re:Uh what? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504331)

That only tells someone what you bought, not what you read, how often you read it, what parts you reread, etc. While the first part is useful, it isn't as useful as having all of it. There's a reason why Librarians fought so hard to prevent giving over your checkout history to other parts of the government several years ago.

You bought it... (1)

slashrio (2584709) | about 2 years ago | (#40505867) DHS puts you on the watch list and TSA will single you out for additional 'pat downs'. (Or is it 'pats down'?)

Re:Uh what? (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#40504427)

That presumes you buy the book from someone that records your purchase, which is historically not the case. Alternatives:

1) Buy the book from someone who doesn't record specific sales details - used book dealers still generally do this.
2) Borrow/be gifted the book from a friend/stranger.
3) Borrow the book from a library. Obviously they will record what you currently have out, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that many delete those records soon after the book has been returned, librarians can get downright militant when it comes to defending the sanctity of their service, even if their primary target is generally censorship.
4) Read the book at the library - most encourage this sort of behavior, and it leaves no record at all.

Sadly the current DRM situation means that the library is pretty much the only option for protected ebooks, and I wouldn't be surprised if many of the lending methods out there send records to the publisher.

Re:Uh what? (0)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#40504549)

How about buying a book using... wait for it.... cash!?!? I know it's a crazy idea...

Re:Uh what? (1)

slashrio (2584709) | about 2 years ago | (#40505875)

How about buying a book using... wait for it.... cash!?!? I know it's a crazy idea...

And almost illegal, or at least getting more and more suspicious.

Re:Uh what? (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#40506337)

I think your hat needs a re-foiling.

4) Read the book at the library - most encourage t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504623)

4) Read the book at the library - most encourage this sort of behavior, and it leaves no record at all.

Sure it does. On the security camera(s). Put a frame online for crowd id and you're tagged.

Re:Uh what? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40504487)

No. You can into a book shop in some town where you are not known by anyone, and buy a book with cash there. The only thing the seller has to know is that you pay for the book. He doesn't need to know who you are, what other books you bought (not even if you've ever bought another book at his shop), how many of the books you bought you've already read, how many you've started to read but for any reason didn't finish, how many you bought as a gift for others, etc. And of course not every book you read you buy. You get books as gift, you borrow books from friends, you go to a library (and if you read the books inside the library, there will not even be a record of books you've read in the library). Whoever is selling you the book has no business knowing what you read. His business is selling you books. Nothing more, nothing less.

Re:Uh what? (3, Insightful)

zmughal (1343549) | about 2 years ago | (#40504767)

"'There's a societal ideal that what you read is nobody else's business,'"... no, no there isn't.

When speaking about the act of reading, there is some expectation of privacy, at least from the government. This isn't related to businesses per se, but librarians have fought to keep library records private and as such, their policies and software try to keep records for only as long as necessary (e.g. the duration of loan). Librarians often refuse to give out information on their patrons unless there is a court order.

This same sort of ideal can be applied to businesses in the form of opt-in data mining, but U.S. society needs to make this sort of decision in the form of information privacy law.

Re:Uh what? (1)

bitingduck (810730) | about 2 years ago | (#40506995)

Many libraries are also lending e-books now, and the aggregators for that are capable of tracking your reading habits.

Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40504337)

Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave?
Appropriate name since a lot of those books arrive in torrents.

When I read this... (2)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#40504477)

I'm glad I've not purchased an eReader yet. I feel like we're licensing our souls piecemeal these days. Unfortunately, we're getting a raw deal in return for the adoption of technology.

I actually do this when I buy a book and have done for 20 years now: Buy it cash (preferably second hand already), Read it, Stick a bloody great big sticker on the front that says this is to be handed around for free and must not be sold, Give it to someone (anyone!). I encourage everyone else to do this as well.

Re:When I read this... (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 2 years ago | (#40504687)

Read it, Stick a bloody great big sticker on the front that says this is to be handed around for free and must not be sold, Give it to someone (anyone!). I encourage everyone else to do this as well.

This is fine up to a point, but it's a bit of a raw deal for the author when you're dealing with etexts of any kind. My own "code" (FWIW) is that if the author is deceased, the publisher has no moral right to insist on milking readers for the full purchase price of any book when they are under no obligation to pass royalties on to the author, so I have no qualms about using Bittorrent to obtain those texts.

Re:When I read this... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40506999)

Me too. If I right fancy an entertaining yarn but I'm a bit short on the readies I just bump off the author.

What worries me is Stephen King. That wasn't me.

we get the future we deserve (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504521)

The more everyone decides to move to electronic devices we don't control - ebooks, iOS, most Android devices, WP7, Facebook, DVRs that report on our viewing habits, and many others - the more this reality will come to pass. Every single thing we ever with anything electronic will be tracked, logged, used to form advertizing profiles of us, and a government database mined to find da terrurusts.

We get the reality we chose to buy. Most people are choosing to live in this world by preferring those products over others without the privacy problems. Thus, it is the world we will get.

Re:we get the future we deserve (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#40510043)

We get the reality we chose to buy. Most people are choosing to live in this world by preferring those products over others without the privacy problems.

What alternatives? There are very few, and they are inferior (Linux on the desktop, anyone?).

I reject your snobbish assertion that the citizenry deserves to have their privacy eroded. It's like you're watching a frog being slowly boiled and you're blaming the frog.

torrents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40504635)

My approach has always been to side-load ebooks from various .torrent sites. It avoids all of these privacy hassles.

Worthless Data (1)

grumling (94709) | about 2 years ago | (#40504911)

Why is it that the tone of these articles invoke a picture of Jeff Bezos sitting in a hotel suite with the shades drawn, watching numbers and graphs constantly changing on a bunch of laptops? I can see him now, fingernails 6 inches long because he can't look away long enough for personal grooming, drinking his milk, eating his peas. Barking orders out to his handlers...

I think the only thing they'll find out is that much of the data collected is just about worthless. Yes, advertisers ask for all this information now, but in another 5 years we'll either all scrub data and they'll never see it, or (the more likely scenario), they'll find that all that targeting and data crunching doesn't translate into increased sales. Most people buy books based on word of mouth. When the mouth is Oprah, the word carries a lot more weight than a complete stranger's review on, but it's the same thing. There will continue to be book reviewers, a lot of them, in fact. The key will be to get the right book in the hands of the right reviewer, not relying on past purchases for predicting future behavior.

BTW this isn't some new revelation... it's been happening for years in independent bookstores and video rental shops. Many people do watch the "staff picks" shelf as a guide for what to read or watch.

Re:Worthless Data (1)

Jiro (131519) | about 2 years ago | (#40505179)

Managers, executives, marketers, and other people in high positions in companies like to measure things. Spying on customers produces a series of numbers that they can numerically compare and produce "objective results"; that's enough for it to appeal to them. Whether the numbers are actually useful only has a minimal effect on their decision to use them unless the cost is very high (which may apply to an entire advertising campaign, but certainly doesn't apply to this).

Patriot Act (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 years ago | (#40505405)

I remember when it was a big deal just about 10 years ago when librarians fought back against the government spying on what books people read at their library.

Now only 10 years later, only a few people are upset at the privatized version which just voluntarily hands the data over to the government without any fuss. The impacts are greater and far reaching but people don't care.

Your profile might not be public, like Facebook... but leaks, 3rd parties etc. will someday be providing profiling services to insurance and HR departments. You will not know why you don't get jobs, lose jobs, pay higher insurance, lose LOANs, pay higher interest rates.... It'll take probably decades before a similar system to credit ratings is known about and starting to be regulated (we still do not regulate the credit ratings which can be unfair... not that regulation will fix it.) Your information might be "private" but that does not protect you from "trusted 3rd parties" from providing profiles to others because it is derived information that is your real threat.

Re:Worthless Data (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40505419)

Who tells you that this information will be used only to sell you books? Indeed, I guess soon the main use of such data will not be to determine what to advertise, but how to advertise to you. You are reading SF? Well, from the pool of ads, select those which use a somewhat SF setting. You are reading romances? Well, there's another ad optimized for that. For very popular books, even ads targeted at the readers of that particular book could be used.

Also, future technology might allow automatic special tailoring of the ads to a specific profile. That's personalized ads in the literal sense.

Well unless you buy your paper books with cash (1)

SilverJets (131916) | about 2 years ago | (#40505651)

They can already track your reading habits if they wanted to.

Purchase the non "Special Features" Kindles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40505653)

If you really enjoy reading the kindle is a great investment. The vast amount of public domain literature from Project Gutenberg and others is fantastic. With open sourced software such as Calbrie ( you are able to convert any file to the Kindle .mobi. I was tempted to purchase one with the whispernet 3g but luckily I went with the wifi only model (and I keep the wifi turned off) and never registered the device.

Thi5 FP for GNAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40506201)

These early are the imp0rtant FreeBSD because a sad world. At

Kobo uses Google Analytics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40506905)

It disturbs me that the Kobo book reader uses Google Analytics.
Google knows too much as it is.

I guess the only thing to do now is obfuscate our info with a crushing avalanche of obviously fake information feeding into the system...

Obligatory Snow Crash (2)

BetterSense (1398915) | about 2 years ago | (#40507109)

Y.T.'s mom pulls up the new memo, checks the time, and starts reading it. The estimated reading time is 15.62 minutes. Later, when Marietta does her end-of-day statistical roundup, sitting in her private office at 9:00 P.M., she will see the name of each employee and next to it, the amount of time spent reading this memo, and her reaction, based on the time spent, will go something like this:

Less than 10 min.: Time for an employee conference and possible attitude counseling.

10-14 min.: Keep an eye on this employee; may be developing slipshod attitude.

14-15.61 min.: Employee is an efficient worker, may sometimes miss important details.

Exactly 15.62 min.: Smartass. Needs attitude counseling.

15.63-16 min.: Asswipe. Not to be trusted.

16-18 min.: Employee is a methodical worker, may sometimes get hung up on minor details.

More than 18 min.: Check the security videotape, see just what this employee was up to (e.g., possible unauthorized restroom break).

Y.T.'s mom decides to spend between fourteen and fifteen minutes reading the memo. It's better for younger workers to spend too long, to show that they're careful, not cocky. It's better for older workers to go a little fast, to show good management potential. She's pushing forty. She scans through the memo, hitting the Page Down button at reasonably regular intervals, occasionally paging back up to pretend to reread some earlier section. The computer is going to notice all this. It approves of rereading. It's a small thing, but over a decade or so this stuff really shows up on your work-habits summary.

There is one rule for corporations: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40507521)

If it is profitable, they will do it.

So if you want to know whether a corporation is tracking any particular activity you do, just ask if it is profitable, and you will have your answer. (Note: targeted advertising is much more valuable than non-targeted advertising).

Same thing goes with selling the information. If someone is willing to pay for it and it is legal (or if the costs of breaking the law are lower than the sale price) then they have sold it.

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