11.Dec.2010 Beaverblitz & Their Invasion of Your Privacy

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Warning: this post is not about football; it's about Big Brother watching you.

Last night was my office Christmas party. I usually eat dinner around 4pm, so when the main course was finally served at 8:30 and dessert at 9:30, I knew I was in for a long night. It takes this particular beaver a long time to digest. To get to the point, I was up until about 3am doing just that, and in my state of gastrointestinal bliss and boredom, my penchant for IT nerd-dom took over and I decided to conduct an experiment.

It is very simple and goes like this:

  1. Clear all cookies from my browser.
  2. Open beaverblitz.
  3. Re-check my cookies and see what they put on my computer.

The results were pretty astounding. 18 cookies, literally ranging from A to Z. Here are the results:

Three of them can be justified: rivals.com, oregonstate.rivals.com, and rivals.yahoo.com. That leaves 15 unexplainable cookies on my machine. I decided to take action, and I'll explain how you can do so as well, but first let me show you how many cookies are placed on your machine when you visit this site. As above, the cookies were cleared completely before visiting the site.

As you can see, two cookies are placed on your machine. As far as I'm concerned, that is one too many. What is quantserve? I investigated and found it's a wordpress cookie added to all blogs. That's not a good enough explanation for me, so I decided to take action again and block it.

If you, like me, find invasion of privacy offensive then follow along, and I'll tell you how to allow the bare minimum in terms of cookies. I can't explain the process for every browser. I use Firefox, so I'll explain how it's done in this software. The concept is the same across all platforms, so you'll just have to learn how to apply it to your particular browser.

  1. At the top of the Firefox window, on the menu bar, click on Tools and select Options.
  2. Select the Privacy panel.
  3. Click on Remove Individual Cookies and then Remove All Cookies.
  4. Set Firefox will: to Use custom settings for history.

Now make sure Accept cookies from sites is NOT checked, click Exceptions.

At this point, you have blocked all cookies, and you must add (i.e. allow) access to sites of your choice. You can now add angrybeavs.com or rivals.com, and sites like quantserve can be blocked. The problem with this approach is that if you are not tech savvy you will wind up unable to login to certain sites. For example, banking sites are notorious for having a logon page (e.g. login.chase.com) and a post logon banking webpage (e.g. banking.chase.com). Both cookies must be allowed for you to access the site as normal. Again, this comes down to privacy versus your desire and ability to invest the time into locking down your browser. Ultimately that is a decision you must make, but since rivals nor anyone else is going to tell you what they're putting on your computer, and I know the truth of the matter, I figured it's my duty.

My running checklist of beaverblitz follies now includes:

  • Making users pay for information that is available for free hours after the fact.
  • Taking free recruiting videos off Youtube and charging subscribers to watch them.
  • Putting tracking cookies on your computer against your will.
  • Censorship and disbelief in critical discussion on their message boards.
  • Banning dissenting opinions from their message boards.

Anyway, do as you see fit, but now you can at least say your decision is informed.

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  • BeavGirl BeavGirl says:
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    Okay I just tried this and now I can’t log in to hotmail. adding hotmail as an exception doesn’t work for the log in page. any help?

    • angry angry says:
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      Hey BeavGirl.

      Hotmail requires you add three cookies. login.live.com, mail.live.com, and hotmail.com.

      It’s because they have a logon screen and a redirect, so the cookie must be allowed for all.

      Like I tried to explain above, this is very common on sites where you login and then are redirected (e.g. banking sites, email sites, etc). Sometimes you have to hit the red X in your browser quickly to catch what the redirect is.

      I realize this is a tech savvy process and you’ll run into errors like the hotmail situation you described above, but I think you’ll enjoy your browsing experience if you invest the time to do it. Say you’re shopping for shoes, then you go to a completely different site and see a shoe ad. That kind of stuff will vanish. Also, sites won’t be able to data mine, etc. Finally, your browser runs a lot faster if it doesn’t have to answer thousands of calls from cookies.

      • BeavGirl BeavGirl says:
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        “Say you’re shopping for shoes, then you go to a completely different site and see a shoe ad. That kind of stuff will vanish. Also, sites won’t be able to data mine, etc. Finally, your browser runs a lot faster if it doesn’t have to answer thousands of calls from cookies.”

        hmm okay i got it. this is cool. thanks for sharing 🙂

  • mw2 says:
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    You really dislike BeaverBlitz, don’t you? haha…

    Has Ms. Machado done something to you in the past?

    You know, if you don’t submit to Big Brother, you are a terrorist… just remember that. They are trying to ‘protect’ you. Big Brother has all of our best interests at heart. Submit. Submit. Submit.

    BTW, when is Moala, McClure and Moreland (M&M&M) going to ‘submit’ their LOI’s?

    • angry angry says:
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      Yeah, she banned me from the site for having opinions because she feared I’d scare off masses of paying customers. The old farts complained about me, then she banned.

      • mw2 says:
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        BeaverFootball.com (Scout) is better than ‘Blitz anyhow.

        They are a little late with new info. sometimes, but I like them over Rivals.

        Rivals tends to be more generous with Star Ratings, too.

        • angry angry says:
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          Scout’s star-ratings are more accurate. They haven’t banned me, but my forum posts have to be moderator approved, which is almost as lame.

          I’m going to start rating recruits now that it’s the off season. My goal is to be more accurate than both those sites. I think it’s definitely possible since national evaluators have (too much) clout on those sites.

          • JackBeav says:
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            I could not care less about either Yahoo! or Fox Sports when it comes to anything sports related. The only thing Fox does well is NASCAR, and even that’s getting silly as time passes. Yahoo! is too busy selling themselves to notice what’s going on in sports. That’s why their evaluations and rankings are so heavily regional and geared toward population centers.

            ESPN played a lot of the same games as the other two as far as selling versus evaluating and drama versus truth. But they have really stepped it up in the last year with some real reporting and evaluation. They still need to dump the ‘recruiting service’ mentality and recognize that the business is strictly reporting. Their service is to their readers, not their contributors. Since ESPN is sports-centric, they appear to be much more able to cut the fat off many stories and just give you the lean. They’re still not quite there, but they’re much better than the other two.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    my screen is blue, help me

    • beavers4life beavers4life says:
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      Is it shaded blue meaning that it’s discolored or that the screen went solid blue? I’m assuming NOT the latter because if that were the case…how were you able to post your comment. Anyways, if you were trying to fix your settings to angry’s specifications, then change them back and see if that fixes it. if not, log off your admin account and then log back in and see if that fixes it. otherwise, reboot the computer itself and hope that fixes it or doesn’t cause any more problems.

      • angry angry says:
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        I think Nancy is lying/joking, but if true you just re-enable cookies for all sites.

  • beavers4life beavers4life says:
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    I have a better solution….get Google Chrome!!! Here’s my cookies after visiting beaverblitz.com, facebook, comcast, and angrybeavs.com

    angrybeavs.com
    comcast.net
    login.comcast.net
    mail.comcast.net
    sz0150.ev.mail.comcast.net
    oascentral.comcast.net
    facebook.com
    google.com
    rivals.com
    oregonstate.rivals.com

    That’s all I get cookies wise. I cleared my about 1500+ probably cookies and ya, it does make your web browsing experience much faster!! Thanks for this post!

    • angry angry says:
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      That’s pretty good, but what I don’t like about Chrome is there is no url drop down menu. You have to use the history, and that’s added steps. I have no idea why they haven’t corrected this yet. Otherwise it’s the perfect browser.

  • beavers4life beavers4life says:
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    With google chrome you can block 3rd party cookies! That’s what you’re getting from the beaverblitz.com and this website i believe.

  • beavers4life beavers4life says:
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    Actually angry, If you frequent a website more than 3 times or something; once you start typing that site in, t will fill it in for you. Also, if you have bookmarks, it will finish the url off for you. it’s pretty ingenious.

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