Vivaldi issues about ads tracking

  • Hi Vivaldi Community,

    This year I moved out of Google services almost completely by replacing Google with DuckDuckGo, Gmail with Tutamail, Drive with pCloud and of course, Chrome with Vivaldi.
    I did this specially because I hate being tracked by ads and I noticed I was being very protected from them in the beginning.

    However, in the last days, I've started noticing a lot of ads (both in the websites I browse and in my Android apps) related to products that I've searched for using DuckDuckGo on Vivaldi and I'm wondering how is it possible that ad companies are tracking me when it's supposed that both Vivaldi and DuckDuckGo don't track users?
    Also I have installed AdBlocker plus and Popupblocker, and in my android phone I use DuckDuckGo and Firefox.

    Does anybody have some clue why am I being tracked by ads?

    Thanks in advance.

  • @wilmermurillo said in Vivaldi issues about ads tracking:

    related to products that I've searched for using DuckDuckGo on Vivaldi and I'm wondering how is it possible that ad companies are tracking me when it's supposed that both Vivaldi and DuckDuckGo don't track users?

    Vivaldi and DuckDuckGo do not track you. However, any site that you visit (e.g. a link from a search result) can use cookies etc to track you.
    Have you disabled third party cookies?
    First suggestion is check all the settings in Tools/Settings/Privacy

    Although "Adblocker plus" sounds like it should handle this stuff - I don't know it though.

    Another "workaround" would be to always use Private Windows, but this may not suit your browsing style (logins etc.).

  • @tbgbe Thanks so much, that makes sense. However I still can't figure why Instagram and Android know my searching habits from my laptop (maybe Facebook tracks my open tabs on Vivaldi or something like that?) when I apparently have no associated accounts between Vivaldi and my Android Phone.

    I'll try configuring my third party cookies, thank you!

  • @wilmermurillo I would guess (I don't use them) that Instagram and Facebook are tracking your account/login. No other way to track between devices (unless they use location profiling - would that be specific enough? Not sure.)

  • @tbgbe Yeah I haven not configured my FB login to anything on my computer. I think IP proofling is more possible, because I'm seeing these ads even in non-google/facebook apps that display Google Adwords. So annnoying.

    If I find a solution I'll post it here.
    Thanks for the help.

  • Moderator

    @wilmermurillo The other possibility is that your ISP is re-writing your HTTP headers to insert a perma-cookie (sometimes called a "supercookie" in the press) to enable/facilitate invasive tracking. Telecoms can also partner with ad networks to serve you with targeted ads. Some ISPs will let you opt out; others won't.

    Also, what apps do you have installed on your mobile device? Another scourge are cross-platform/cross-device tracking technologies (such as SilverPush) and apps that pick up on ultrasonic beacons to track your behaviour and engagement when ads are broadcast on television or online.

  • My suggestion then is that of the proclaimed anarchist: is it possible to "duplicate" response, fire not just once but at apparent random? Double the rate will inform them that I have visited today - and send it tomorrow and next week will say that I visited them then, but that is wrong. The purpose is to mislead and divert, and produce absolute rubbish. The statistical significance is seldom 5% so scew the statistics 1/20 and "mission ackomplished" - they will spend a fortune to "clean up the strata".

    So instead of BLOCKING third and fourt and fifth party: Send repeated responses to first, second and third - now and then and every time you feel for it on a free WiFi connection!

  • Moderator

    @Knuthf UIDH (perma-cookie) has kinda been thwarted by the widespread adoption of HTTPS. VPNs can partially thwart efforts of Telcos/ISPs/MSPs to track you. However, it's REALLY hard to defeat tracking these days, especially when it's allowed to go on (from a legal/legislative/regulatory perspective) and when privacy protections are being eroded, not strengthened.

    ... but we're drifting off-topic. The question was essentially, I've tried best to thwart online tracking; why am I [still] being tracked by ads?

    In my opinion, the best defence is still awareness and choosing the software and service providers that you use wisely. (That's why privacy-friendly browsers, such as Vivaldi, are important.) Likewise, you also need to be vigilant and mindful of all the apps that you install on your devices and extensions that you install in your browser.

  • @xyzzy That makes a lot of sense, because ads appear in of all my devices even in those apps that don't share any common information. Some of the apps in my phone the are displaying ads based on my laptop devices are: SendAnyWhere, Instagram, Facebook and a few others.
    Do you think using permanently a VPN could solve this?

    Thanks so much for your help.

  • Moderator

    @wilmermurillo Using a VPN may or may not solve your tracking problem, depending on how you're being tracked. The VPN will limit your ISP's ability to track you with deep packet inspection technologies or log/track network connection flows. It will also prevent the ISP from logging DNS queries. (unless you use the ISP's name servers!) However, if your ISP is not part of the problem, VPNs will offer you some privacy but won't solve the tracking issue when the apps and services that you use are the real problem.

    You need to fix this problem layer-by-layer.

    Check the privacy policy statements for your mobile apps. Don't install any that are not trustworthy.

    Use reputable, popular browser extensions. There are horrible extensions (and security software) out there that claim to protect your privacy but actually track you. I use Raymond Hill's (gorhill in the Chrome Extensions store) uBlock Origin and uBlock Origin Extra. uBO has more than 10,000,000 users and is used by many in the Vivaldi community. I don't use any other extensions; sometimes security/privacy-related extensions can interfere with one another AND slow your browser down, so more is not better. Others prefer not to use ad/content-blockers but do use extensions such as EFF's Privacy Badger to limit tracking.

    If you're constantly logged into Facebook (and other social media sites) on all your devices while browsing, you can also still be tracked. Some people launch their browsers with their history and cookies cleared and adopt a very task-oriented browsing behaviour. When they finish their task on one site, they then clear their browser history, cookies, and locally-stored app data before moving on to their next task.

  • Moderator

    @wilmermurillo One other thing... I can't stress how important it is to opt-out of any tracking by your ISP or carrier. I got a nice friendly message from my mobile carrier asking something like: Advertising on web sites is a reality in today's online world. Would you like the ads that you see to be of more interest to you? That's their way of asking for permission to track my browsing behaviour and partner with online advertisers to serve me with relevant ads. Um, no... but thanks for asking.


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