Welcome to another edition of Plug-ins for Privacy! I’m featuring two very different plug-ins for this edition. One of these plug-ins makes standard browser controls more complete, and the other one… well, that’s a surprise. A bloody surprise.
[This is a guest post by Cyrus Nemati, Web Producer for the Center for Democracy & Technology]
Click n’ Clean
Modern browsers have come a long way in terms of offering their users control over their data. My organization, CDT, released a browser privacy report last year comparing settings that would have been unimaginable even a couple of years ago. Privacy modes? DOM storage control? Per-site cookie options? Inconceivable! Despite all these advances, some important user controls are missing and here’s where Click n’ Clean steps in. This plug-in not only introduces some of those missing controls, its presentation of them is so browser-like one might think, “Why doesn’t my browser have this in the first place?”
This is Click n’ Clean‘s preference screen. The first several options are nothing special; there’s no modern browser that does not allow you to clear your data in some way. The fields afterward, however, are more intriguing. For example, the ability to have a program run automatically once the browser closes is an interesting notion; you could run a cleanup program such as CCleaner to mop up the bits of information the browser can’t handle (such as useless programs and temporary files), or just set up a script to shut the computer down (for those forgetful kids who don’t shut down when they’re done using the Internet), or just run any program at all. You could even have your browser re-open as soon as it closes, if you’re the pranking sort. Click n’ Clean will also delete LSO cookies (information stores for the Flash player), an option absent from most browser settings. This is a feature every browser really should have by now, and Click n’ Clean plugs this hole.
Click n’ Clean also has a toolbar button that lets you do some basic tab management (e.g., closing all tabs) and information clearing. (However, these features are redundant, since tab management is quite adequate in most browsers, and most browsers will allow you to easily delete cookies and temporary files.)
Privacy Power (5/5)
Click n’ Clean does a good job as a one-stop data clearing solution. It’s simple to use and quite complete as an “all-in-one” browser settings tool.
Ease of Use (5/5)
Click n’ Clean gives you all the tools you need in one place, and even gives you the option to auto-run tools of your own once the browser has closed.
Most of the functions of Click n’ Clean are available in modern browsers. Click n’ Clean makes those functions accessible and adds the ability to clear LSO cookies, but the LSO removal feature is available in several other plug-ins as well.
In an age long ago consigned to legend, Loki, the Trickster, the hated, became the catalyst that would one day end the world. When he caused the death of Great Baldr, Loki ensured that Ragnarok would one day come upon us, and the world would be consumed by the Great Serpent, Jormungandr. Though Loki was chained for his crimes to a mountain until the End, he still sows mischief on the Internet through deceptive data-gathering practices. It is well, then, that Bloody Vikings come to our aid.
Bloody Vikings, as you would expect, is a Firefox plug-in that allows a user to sign up for services using temporary, anonymous e-mail addresses. Okay, perhaps you didn’t expect that at all. The connection between Vikings, let alone bloody ones, and anonymous e-mail services is shaky at best. However, Bloody Vikings proves useful and responsive to the needs of the user. If you are prompted to enter an e-mail address to receive some service you’re dubious about (for example, registration for the “CIA Wiretapee and Alien Monitoring Mailing List”), simply right-click to call upon the Bloody Vikings, and pick an anonymous e-mail service from the dropdown list. Then lo, by the grace of Thor, you have your temporary, anonymous e-mail address – plus, a new tab for you to check your temporary e-mail will also conveniently open for you. Use of a service like this protects your primary e-mail address, and it frees you from personally maintaining e-mail accounts just for junk mail. And the best part, GeekDads, is that it’s so simple that a child would have no trouble using it, thus saving you from having your e-mail address signed up for the Pokemon Masters Pokemon Forum.
Privacy Power (5/5)
Bloody Vikings makes sure that your personal e-mail address never comes into the equation. The fact that the e-mail services it uses are all temporary is further privacy protection.
Ease of Use (5/5)
Right-click and you’re done. Point at the field and let the Vikings do their bloody work.
There are plenty of anonymous e-mail plug-ins like Bloody Vikings. So why is Bloody Vikings the top plug-in in its field? Well…
The Name (5/5)
It’s called Bloody Vikings.
And so, we remove our horned helmets and rest another day, comfortably sipping our flagons of mead, knowing our privacy is protected. Until next time, keep your browsers safe, and Loki will have no power over you. Remember, though, that one cannot expect Vikings to protect one’s privacy at all times. It’s going to take some legislation to do that, so take a moment to sign CDT’s petition for online privacy legislation. Let’s not wait for Ragnarok!