How to Foil StatCounter and Retain Your Privacy

As I mentioned in my last post, a lot of people here at VOX have jumped on the StatCounter Bandwagon. This has seriously changed the dynamic here at VOX for a great many people. Why? Because anyone who has installed StatCounter in their VOX is able to acquire the following information on visitors to their blog:

♠ Country of origin
♠ IP Address (which is your computer’s or network’s individual identification number)
♠ Internet Service Provider (which often indicates a specific city)
♠ Operating System
♠ Browser version
♠ Resolution
♠ Pages accessed
♠ Referring links
♠ Date and time of visit
♠ Duration of visit
♠ Number of return visits and pageloads

Needless to say, with all this information plus what one can gather from individual blogs themselves, the potential is there for some seriously creepy stalkerish activities. I have known people in the past who had nothing but time for that shit and so I completely understand that some of you might be just a tad unnerved by how easy it is for someone to get so much info on you just because you popped into their blog.

I’m here to help.

Turning Invisible

There is a very simple way to foil StatCounter. StatCounter relies on this JavaScript file and cookies to gather and distribute its data. All you have to do to break StatCounter is disable that JavaScript file.

Is it like castrating a rabid dog? Well yeah, sort of. It’s like castrating a rabid dog that keeps looking in your window.

Now, there is one major requirement you may not be willing/able to complete, so we’ll just get to that first. You must be using the Firefox web browser for this method to work. StatCounter tells me most of my visitors use Firefox,  but if you are not using and/or will not use it, then you’ll have to find some other way on your own. I have no idea if Internet Explorer has a similar tool because I hate IE with the fire of a thousand suns. My only Mac is at work and I never use it to surf the internet, so I can’t help you there, either. Sorry.

Alright then, the next thing you’ll need is the Adblock Extension for Firefox. This extension allows you to turn different files – images, scripts, ads* – on and off with ease. Go here to install it.

Now, go to a person’s site who has StatCounter installed (you can do it here if you’ve arrived prior to my getting bored with StatCounter and dumping it). Open Adblock by clicking the word "Adblock" in the bottom right corner of your browser and then look for the file highlighted in the image below (1). That’s the bugger that’s ratting you out. Little asshole. The root is, unsurprisingly, http://www.statcounter.com/. So, in the field at the bottom of the window, enter that with an asterisk after it (2).** That will tell Adblock to block everything from StatCounter’s website.

Voila! You are now invisible to StatCounter. You will remain invisible as long as you are browsing with Firefox and Adblock keeps blocking their website. Put simply, as long as that JavaScript file cannot run in your browser, StatCounter has no way of knowing your browser even exists.

I should probably mention, in case it isn't overtly obvious, that if you block StatCounter in this way, you won't be able to use it to track others, either. In other words, you'll have to work harder to uphold your double standard. Please don't ask me for help doing this.

Hope this helps you, makes you feel less creeped-out, whatever. Of course, there are gobs of these things out there, and my method only deals with StatCounter. If you’re truly worried about being invisible on the ‘net, you’ll want to do more in depth research. Me, I’m tired of typing. Bye.

*I’m sure SixApart would be most grateful if you would refrain from using it to block the ads at VOX. They gotta pay the bills for us somehow!
**You could just block the one JavaScript file, but I like to be thorough.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
This entry was posted in Can I Say Something? and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to How to Foil StatCounter and Retain Your Privacy

  1. Brown Suga' says:

    Crap, I found the file, but I'm on IE at the lab.

  2. Brown Suga' says:

    Am feverishly trying to disable it ….

  3. Brown Suga' says:

    I give up. I just deleted it.
    And I apologise for so many unnecessary comments … I keep forgetting and hitting "Post" after every line I type!

  4. Crush says:

    Just like that, huh? That's simple and easy…..
    ….simple like quantum physics.
    ….easy like Mel Gibson stumbling into your son's Bar Mitzvah.
    and, D00d: WTF is a Pr0n? Do I need to have a copy of Internet for Dummies handy every time I visit here now? 🙂

  5. jaypo says:

    Glad I was never able to download the counter.Kirk, someone up there is trolling the waters… Can we delete the poopoo?

  6. Brown Suga' says:

    Ok, I did change some settings in internet explorer (in the "Security" tab) but I found that I was no longer able to comment on your blog. That damn Statcounter didn't seem to get blocked anyway.
    But I am now scarred for life!

  7. Kirk says:

    Oh… I guess I must know more about internet culture and web programming than I thought. :)If you want help installing Firefox and/or Adblock, PM me. I'd be happy to tell you how to set it up in more detail."pr0n" is cute way to write "porn". It started as leet-speak combined with a typo for the purpose of avoiding content filters.

  8. IG says:

    Thanks for this, Kirk! I installed the thingie. I guess the only way to confirm that it's working is to go to my friends who still have StatCounter installed and ask them if they can see me? Yeeshness, how silly have we become? :-)I don't lurk on other people's sites a whole lot (who has time?) but I sure don't want people knowing all this junk about me just because some comment they made on a friend's Vox or some random keyword search brought me to their site. Tarnation! Note to self: Stop searching for dog pr0n on Kirk's Vox. ;-P

  9. Kirk says:

    "I guess the only way to confirm that it's working is to go to my
    friends who still have StatCounter installed and ask them if they can
    see me?"Pretty much. That's how I tested my method before posting it. I simply had Karin see if our IP showed up in her StatCounter log. When the site was blocked, she couldn't see me. As soon as I unblocked StatCounter, she saw my every move.

  10. jaypo says:

    oops! Sorry, Crush, I missed your wink icon face and thought you were seriously trolling. Mea culpa.

  11. IG says:

    LOL at Jaypo. I read your comment three times trying to figure out where the troll and poopoo were. Poor Crush! First his little daughter calls him a n00b…now he's been mistaken for a troll on Kirk's Vox. ;-PMaybe we old fogeys just need to learn when it's time to hang it up and call it a day. Let's give up computers and technology altogether and just chew on tobacco and shake sticks at the kids from our rocking chairs on the porch, yeah?

  12. Kirk says:

    Aw, jaypo, if I didn't know Crush like I do, I might've taken it differently, too. But me and Crush go way back in the Voxiverse, so his sarcasm straight to funny without ever stopping off at offensive.

  13. I love you! But not in a creepy stalkerish way. I am inspired to attempt this… Geronimo!

  14. Grrrrr. Can't find anybody with StatCounter. Drat!

  15. Kirk says:

    "Can't find anybody with StatCounter. Drat!"I'm running it right now, dear. See the little blue number right above my Zazzle Gallery in the right nav? That's StatCounter. If you've got Adblock installed, run it while on my blog's front page and you'll be able to see it the JavaScript file I referred to.Though I should mention that you don't have to really find someone with it. Just go ahead and type "http://www.statcounter.com/*" (without the quote marks, but don't forget the asterisk) into your Adblock filter field and hot OK. That'll do the trick.

  16. Hey, anybody! Do you see me now?

  17. Kirk says:

    "Hey, anybody! Do you see me now?"Not anymore. ~_^

  18. THANK YOU!!! I have no idea if I did this correctly or not, but you explained it in a way that I, a seriously tech-inept individual, could follow. You rock!

  19. jaypo says:

    IG and Kirk – Why, I feel better already! (Was being xtra protective of Kirk.)

  20. Lurkertype says:

    awesome, Kirk! Thanks for the warning. Luckily I already had me the Adblock for Firefox so it was one little click and poof.

  21. Kirk says:

    "Was being xtra protective of Kirk."Thanks, love. ^_^ My peeps are the best.

  22. Crush says:

    Jeez, Jaypo! I barely know how to make the wink icon! I've been known to troll, but not in internet terms. (WINK) (btw, I didn't even know you were referring to me. That's just how clueless I am.) Anyway, apology accepted. I'm just gonna sit here and wave my cane from the front porch of my retirement home, Univac Acres, and leave this stuff to you kids……

  23. Dancing Bear says:

    I have been stalked and almost tracked down by sickies but because there is so much out there already with my name/image/ yaddah,yaddah I can't imagine anything worse can happen at this point. Then, to top it off, Kevin and I are very publically open so whatever he has out there has me right along with him. He's more tech than I am. I have huge techno issues. I am totally right brain and have difficulty, literally remembering my own cell phone number. We had a counter on a Fan site for a Latvian TV show and we were always interested in the stats of where,why, and when people checked out the site. I don't even have anything but a counter on my work site becaue at this point the data is overkill. I only have had one bad Voxer and he and I blocked each other and I am hoping he just went away.

  24. IG says:

    Make room on that porch for me and my creaky joints, k? Unlike electric, I am so clueless I actually had trouble following Kirk's instructions at first. (I may have been thrown off by his link to the code snippet… the sight of JavaScript anything and my palms start to sweat.) Seriously, I need a rocking chair and a stick.

  25. taylor says:

    how does this work on a chromebook using google chrome?

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