Bugnosis
June 12, 2001 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Bugnosis A web bug detector to find out who's using single-pixel GIFs to relay information to third parties. Distributed by the folks at the Privacy Foundation.

I've long wanted to have this information without mucking through the HTML source. Now that it's available, I don't know if I really want to know.
posted by idiolect (16 comments total)

 
You want to know.
posted by dong_resin at 12:04 PM on June 12, 2001


I installed this a couple days ago.

Verdict?

Just about every corporate site uses web bugs.
posted by preguicoso at 12:23 PM on June 12, 2001


if you use bugnosis in conjunction with web washer, you find that web washer does a pretty good job of getting rid of bugs; although not all of them.
posted by bliss322 at 12:26 PM on June 12, 2001


"Web bugs" are a privacy threat only as part of e-mail messages, and then only if they have a unique identifier embedded in their URL.
posted by kindall at 12:30 PM on June 12, 2001


kottke has bugs. big amazon bugs!
posted by bliss322 at 12:33 PM on June 12, 2001


I assume "bugs" in this case means cookies. Cookies are easy to block. Web Washer has been mentioned; I personally use Junkbuster.
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:59 PM on June 12, 2001


No, "bugs" does not mean "cookies." "Bugs" means, essentally, image files retrieved for a page from another site so that the other site knows who's hitting the first site. In HTML e-mail messages, the image request may identify the e-mail address that's reading the message, which is the only real privacy issue involved.
posted by kindall at 1:06 PM on June 12, 2001


Sound the alarm. Doubleclick knows that I visited cnn.com. I'm outraged.
posted by jragon at 1:23 PM on June 12, 2001


Yes, yes. That's it. Reduction to absurdity. Very well done, jragon... You should pat yourself on the back. There is no spoon...
posted by fooljay at 1:42 PM on June 12, 2001


Now doubleclick knows that you know that they know that you visited cnn.com. Oh shit, now i'm involved. They now know that i know that you know that they know that u did. Whatsmore, they know that i know that they know that, and that i've told you that i know that they do. We're done for.
posted by Kino at 2:12 PM on June 12, 2001


No, "bugs" does not mean "cookies." "Bugs" means, essentally, image files retrieved for a page from another site so that the other site knows who's hitting the first site.

Ah, I see. Well... A) Big deal. B) Junkbuster will still block it. I have it set to completely block traffic from lots of marketing sites, including Doubleclick.

In HTML e-mail messages, the image request may identify the e-mail address that's reading the message, which is the only real privacy issue involved.

Good thing I use a non-HTML e-mail client. I know, this means I won't be able to send and receive e-mail using a 14pt purple Star Trek font, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to secure my computer system from those naughty spies.
posted by RylandDotNet at 3:08 PM on June 12, 2001


For those who use IE- like me- there's also the Web Accessories plug-in, which adds some neat right-click functionality, including the Images List option (so you can see the 1x1 gifs). Not that it alerts you the way Bugnosis apparently does, of course...
posted by hincandenza at 4:01 PM on June 12, 2001


Mac Huggers need not apply...
posted by machaus at 4:40 PM on June 12, 2001


I tried this program. What a pain in the ass it is! Since there doesn't seem to be any way to filter which pages set off alarms and which ones don't -- which ones have acceptable, innocuous "bugs" and all others -- I uninstalled it about 30 minutes after I installed it.
posted by crunchland at 4:55 PM on June 12, 2001


Can you use webwasher with DSL? I miss missing pop-up ads... today the NYT launched a pop-up, albeit behind their site (very weird, and vaguely resembling politeness...)
posted by christina at 5:31 PM on June 12, 2001


In short: all your surfing are belong to marketing people.
posted by fooljay at 12:34 AM on June 13, 2001


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