uBlock Origin does more than you might realize. Preventing bounce tracking is a huge feature of it, often overlooked. You might imagine that using a web browser that claims to block trackers will prevent websites from spying on your browsing activity.
If that’s the case, you’re mistaken. The targeted ad industry has found a way to get beyond tracking protection as it becomes a standard feature in more web browsers, including Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. It’s known as “bounce tracking” or “redirect tracking,” and it entails hiding trackers within the links you click on, making them more difficult to disable without causing website downtime.
“Anyone who runs an ad network is almost probably doing some variation of this,” says Peter Snyder, head of privacy at Brave, a browser that prioritizes privacy.
Blocking some forms of “cookies,” or identifiers that websites use to distinguish specific visitors, is the most basic method of tracking protection on the web. Anti-tracking features in web browsers normally enable sites to keep their own cookies in order to recognize repeat visitors, but they prevent cookies from other sites, which some firms use to track you throughout the internet.
In 2017, Safari began blocking some of these third-party cookies, progressing to complete blocking last year. In 2019, both Firefox and Brave, which had just come out of testing at the time, made cookie blocking the default setting. When Microsoft Edge came out of beta in early 2020, it followed suit.
In order to understand bounce tracking you need to ask yourself, what is a query string. Query strings are an integral part of the web browsing experience. This video has multiple query string examples to help you understand exactly what they are.
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Intro – 00:00
What is a query string? – 00:32
Query string example – 00:43
What is bounce tracking? – 02:06
What you can do – 04:16
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